Reversing a trailer up to a loading dock can be a dark art for the rookie, bringing into question a range of psychological issues.
The first relates to perception, and whether the rookie has any.
The second relates to co-ordination and is a repeat of the first question.
The third relates to performance under pressure and speculates if there is a connection. The answer would appear to be "yes" when repeatedly jack-knifing in a busy suburban shopping centre parking lot in front of afternoon school traffic.
Correlation and causation can get mixed up though, if you deny it strenuously enough. So the plan was to avoid backing into a pole at all costs and keep the critics guessing. (Not that I could hit a pole if I aimed.)
Which gets us back to perception; the main one being at this stage that this bloke didn't know what he was doing. Which wasn't exactly true because I was highly aware things weren't going to plan.
I gauged this by the fact I entered the carpark at 2.10pm and by 2.25pm I was still well short of the loading dock, and facing the wrong way.
This was due in large part to the conundrum that what the rookie sees in the rear view mirror is not necessarily what he gets when reversing.
Driving instructors often refer to this as the "hand-eye-brain cluster bomb" that detonates once things start going off track, which was immediately.
Reversing a trailer in a tight space is not something he did every day, but like many things in life, success is a function of experience and persistence.
Hire companies provide the experience by renting out their trailers. Rookies take care of the persistence, usually by necessity.
The furniture store had confirmed there was a loading dock out the back. It was a bit tight, it was a bit busy and a bit one-way. Easiest thing would be to back it up from the parking lot, they said. As it turned out, the easiest thing was to SAY back it up.
In practice it became an equal opportunity exercise in trailer failure. Port, starboard, didn't matter. Towball, steering wheel and rear view mirror just wouldn't sync.
In terms of co-ordination, there wasn't any real evidence, resulting in a performance that was quite a show.
Drawing ovation from a dude in a hi-vis shirt who suggested driving forwards down the no-entry lane and then backing it up from there might be the go. Ie, get it out of the parking lot.
An excellent suggestion.
When I eventually got to the loading dock I announced I was there, and the girls said they knew - they'd seen me coming the last 20 minutes while they had lunch.
This was something to digest when I gazed back at the experience in the rear view mirror and wondered whether I'd gone backwards in terms of moving forward.
Got the furniture though, #accomplished.