I nearly killed a tourist in our drive by mistake again last week. This wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the fact that it happens fairly frequently.
The reason for this is that there’s a Bike-the-[Golden-Gate]-Bridge route that comes past our house. The approach is up a hill and there are high bushes along the way. Our driveway is at the top of the hill and also at the point where the bushes first part. The combination of needing a rest, waiting for slower bikers to arrive and the stunning view of the city is too compelling a combination for people to resist. They get off their hired bikes and pull out their cameras.
At first, these tourists stand quietly at the top of the steep driveway to take their photos. Then, the more intrepid walk down a few steps onto our land to get a closer look at the view. The downright brave will make it all the way to the bottom of the drive, seemingly oblivious or uncaring of the fact that I can now see them from the kitchen window. (The more foolish of them will also bring their bikes down, heedless of the consequence of having to drag them back up again.)
The steepness [wouldn’t “stepth” be a good word?] means that when I drive out, I have to rev the car up quite a bit to make it up the hill. Unfortunately for the tourists, there’s a 90o bend in the drive that means that I can’t see the interlopers until I’ve almost run into them. We surprise each other. A lot.
However, Friday’s selection of tourists had a death wish of a different kind. I’d parked on the road, at the top of the drive, because we have builders working on the house. My parking spot gave me a perfect vantage point for watching the behaviour of three holiday-snappers that happened to arrive at that moment. They followed the usual pattern of initial respect for boundaries, followed by hesitant trespassing and then devil-may-care invasion of the drive.
But then one of them lit a cigarette.
Sadly for them, I’m rabidly, venomously anti-smoking. So my mood changed instantly from amused fascination to territorial protection. As I got out of the car, I noticed that the smoker wasn’t carrying her cigarette any more, so my mood escalated to warpath outrage. Sure enough, there on the driveway was her cigarette stub. I called them back.
“Excuse me, you’ve dropped something.”
“Oh, thank you”, they said. Gratefully. Sweetly. Innocently. Completely unaware of the bollocking they were about to receive.
That group escaped with their lives. But only just.