I had looked both ways — Scott was with me, and saw me do it as he himself was reaching into the back seat — but one glance in each direction is not enough. Because see that bar there? (Never mind the cat pawprints on the glass; I went back a couple days later just to take these pictures for you and remind myself how close we came to a serious dustup; the pawprints weren't there on the afternoon in question.)
So, don’t look once in each direction. Look TWICE.
A near-miss like this has happened to me before. I can remember at least two other times. I swear, there are traffic angels on my side or I'd've been toast years ago.
From now on I stop completely at all intersections, even if I’m miles from a busy road, even if I feel like an over-cautious old lady. I’ll be an unmangled old lady and my passengers and other drivers will be safer, and that’s what matters.
The day after this incident I phoned the neighbour to apologize. “You can send me your drycleaning bill,” I said.
He’d seen me at the corner, thought I was going to stop, had already moved over when I didn't, and was prepared to “take the ditch” if necessary. So Scott and I were not in any danger, it turns out, due to our neighbour being 10 times more on the ball than I was. Thank goodness Mr B’s truck hurtled past before he had to hit the ditch. It must be hard to live with when you’re responsible for an accident that hurts someone.