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Picture the following scene. It is mid-afternoon, on a truly gorgeous sunny day in San Francisco. Friends have gathered because one woman has flown in from out of town, and they have all decided to play tourist for her sake. "Let's go to Coit Tower," says the woman who has flown in, and the rest of them agreed. So they set off in two cars. They are all Having Fun. The first car is a convertible. The second is not. The three woman in the second car are feeling smug. They have air conditioning. They have the radio on and can actually hear it. They are looking forward to this. The two cars have approached a hill. It is a steep hill. No. That is putting it mildly. It's a NASTY hill. The driver of the second car is not worried though. Oh no. This is a nearly new car. This is an automatic transmission. Ha. She had nothing to fear.
She pulls her foot off the brake, preparing to move forward as another car leaves the stop sign way, way up the hill. And promptly rolls backwards. Say *what*? She is not supposed to roll backwards! She is driving an automatic! This is why *she* is driving and not one of the others in the car with her, who all own cars with manual transmissions. She stomps on the gas too hard in response, and screeches her tires.
Her friends reassure her. Yes, even on this ugly hill that now appears to go up completely straight and is getting steeper by the minute, every car will roll backwards.
The driver gulps. Okay. She can handle this. No sweat. Brake. Foot off brake and over to gas. Roll back, roll forward. No problem....hey! Why is the jerk behind her trying to climb into her back seat? What part of 'cars roll backwards on this hill' does he not understand?
Hands grip the steering wheel. The driver gets a set look on her face. She is Not Having Fun. She is resorting to saying Decidedly Unkind Things about the person in the little grey car behind her. Her friends try to reassure her. If you hit him, they say, he is at fault. On this hill, if he is stupid enough to tail that close, then he should know better. But, the driver whimpers, this is her nearly new car. She does not *want* to hit him. No. Scratch that. She would gladly hit him. But that would involve stopping on this truly horrible hill and getting out and exchanging insurance paperwork and trying to keep from decking the idiot driver who does not seem to grasp the concept that everyone else on this hill has understood - that when you drive on this hill, you roll backwards.
The top is finally reached. The car no longer rolls backwards. Now they get to drive down the windy brick road that is Lombard street, and the driver is once again Having Fun. No more rolling backwards. Of course, she makes a mental note to *never* go up that hill again if she can help it.
Or at least make someone else do the driving next time. So that she can sit in the passenger seat and do the reassuring.