There's a narrow, one-lane bridge outside our house that goes over the canal. Traffic coming from opposite directions must approach it slowly because it's pretty much impossible to see what's on the other side.
One morning last week, the road was very icy. I had been settled in front of the computer for enough time to become absorbed in work when I heard a telltale crunch from the window. I looked out to witness the aftermath of what was fortunately quite a minor accident. A white van was sitting on the bridge, and the young man driving it had jumped out to check on the driver of the sedan just the other side of it. She, a middle-aged lady who was clearly a bit shaken, got out of her car, and the young man backed her car into our drive and then jumped into his van and pulled that in as well.
I went downstairs and asked them both if they'd like to come in. They apologised profusely for being so thoughtless as to have an accident in front of my drive, and for parking there, and for disrupting my day, and for actually having dared to exist at all. I apologised for not having witnessed the accident, for not being a car mechanic and thus able to repair the damage, and for failing to prevent the accident in the first place by not being the Small Magical Gritting God of the Canal Bridge. None of this was said explicitly, of course, it was just permutations on "I'm so sorry". But we all understood. Also, they didn't come in.
In between rounds of mutual apology, I offered them tea. Both of them refused it repeatedly.
I went inside and made tea. I brought the tea outside (apologising for not having any biscuits) and left them to it, as they were sorting out exchanging details and phoning bosses and significant others.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. They apologised again for having inconvenienced me with their accident and for parking in my empty drive.
Two empty teacups were handed to me.
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