This may not speak well of me as a driver, but I very rarely check the rearview. Actually, I don't look in my side mirrors too often, either. I just assume that everything is as it should be in the land behind me. Of course, I do occasionally take a peek while I'm trying to change lanes on the highway, but other than that, I am completely consumed with what is up ahead.I remember driving somewhere with a date a few years back, and listening to him complain about the poor positioning of my rearview. "How can you see anything?" he asked.
"Well...I hardly ever use it, so it doesn't matter," I answered.
"What do you mean, you don't use it? It's your rearview mirror! How can you see behind you without it?"
"My neck turns," I explained. "When I need to see something behind me, I can turn my neck. Also, why should I keep looking behind me while I'm driving? If I've already passed something, why would I need to look at it again? So I can smash into the car in front of me while I'm distracted by something behind me?"
He was exasperated. "You can't just continue merrily on your way, totally unaware of what's going on behind you! You should know what is going on back there at all times! One day someone is going to hit you from behind, and you're not going to be able to avoid it because you're completely oblivious."
"And one day you'll be craning your neck back to look at something useless behind you, and end up smashing into what's in front of you because you can't see where you're heading," I shot back. "You're so consumed with what's back there behind you that you're going to end up veering off in the wrong direction and careening off an embankment."
Obviously, things didn't work out between us; I hate when people tell me how to drive. Still, I think there was a lesson to be taken from this (don't I always?) My focus is always on what's in front of me. I don't dwell on what I have already left behind. Part of me thinks this is a good trait to have; it's always been easy for me to move on from things which don't serve me any longer. And my fixation on the path ahead has allowed me to constantly have something to reach for. Nevertheless, I wonder how different life is for people who can't stop looking in their rearview mirror. Is it comforting to revisit the same scene you have just witnessed, knowing that your eyes didn't deceive you the first time? Do you feel a bit safer knowing that you can hold on to your perception of what the world was, just a few seconds ago, rather than facing what is looming on the road ahead of you?