The Rear-View Mirror

Rear-view mirrors are nice, but the real action is in the opposite direction…

For years, I seemed to pick cars that were too short.  The rear-view mirrors were always right at my eye level.  At first, that sounds about right.  But, the mirrors actually blocked my view out the front windshield.

I had two choices:

Duck down and look under the mirror to see the road ahead,


Remove the mirror.

Not wanting to scrunch down, or have to remember that what I could see was actually the view out the back window, I decided to remove the mirror from my view.

A bit drastic, but I was okay with it.  I could always use the side mirrors to see behind me.  Besides, I mostly used the rear-view mirror to scan for cops (it’s easier to spot their profile, or their lights, using the rear-view mirror).  Since I wasn’t in the habit of breaking laws, it wasn’t a big sacrifice to lose that wide-angle backward view.

Most of what I was interested in was in front of me anyway.  Removing the mirror let me stay focused on what was coming, rather than where I’d been.  Occasionally, I’d glance to the empty spot where the mirror used to be, mostly out of habit.

A habit born of the desire to glean value from where I’d been, but mostly to know if something was about to catch me.  It didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing anything worthy of being caught.  But, still, it was there.  The unknown pursuer.  The quick glance to the rear-view would help me see when it was coming.  It never was.

Fast-forward twenty years or so, and my car (actually a truck) is bigger.  The rear-view mirror doesn’t block my view out the front.  It provides a nice panorama out the back.  I don’t use it much (the side mirrors are still my go-to).  When I do use it, I’m not interested in seeing my pursuer.  I’m not as concerned about who may be back there (unless it’s a knucklehead weaving through traffic, ignoring everyone’s safety).

My rear-view mirror lets me quickly see where I’ve been, and that’s enough.  The real action is still in front of me, so I’m glad my mirror doesn’t block that view.

Otherwise, it would have to go.


Author: Bob Dailey

Born and raised in Southern California. Graduated from (and met my future wife at) Cal Poly Pomona, in 1988. Married to Janet for almost 35 years. Father of two: Julianne and Jennifer. Grandfather of 7. Held many positions in small, medium, and large companies. Trail runner, competitive stair climber, backpacker, camper, off-roader, world traveler, sometimes writer.

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