death by lipstick

Bike Share is a world wide phenomena 
Bike Share LA

got that information and image from Wisdom Quarterly

the stereotype of the woman driver
a woman driving while putting on make-up 
a woman appearing to be signaling when she is really drying her nails is not just a comical stereotype since the advent of the car... this multi-tasking meld of beautification and driving is part of many woman's everyday

I see it each morning... 
I see it every day...

a few years back I worked on the other side of town...
my route to work was an aggressive one
I muscled for space with East-West Traffic on Irving Street down past Washington Hospital Center
down to North Capital Street then on towards New York Avenue

anyone who knows these roads knows that these are major arteries that involve fast moving aggressive commuter traffic
well... one night I had worked late which had me fighting far less traffic
it was winter... so it was dark... I commuted daily... so I was well outfitted with lights
so many lights that I came to understand when  child pointed and said "Christmas Tree" in a variety of languages

I was hustling pretty good with my my flashing lights and headlamp on a stretch of Irving Street over by Washington Hospital Center that is so well lit that it is hard to tell if it is night or day

in the right hand lane I moved at a good clip under the underpass that is North Capital Street 
to my left I could see the fence of the Armed Forces Retirement Home a land that would later become the location of DCCX... the only cyclocross race in The District... the cyclocross race hosted by DCMTB... the mountain bike team I race with

to my right I passed a ramp that fed cars from North Capital Street onto Irving
my speed was good
I saw a car enter the ramp
but with my speed and their speed I knew that I had plenty of space
plenty of space and the right of way

rolling forward fast with blinking lights on my body, bag, and bike
the headlamp on my head shined on the road in front of me with a beam that is strong enough to race mountain bikes in the woods at night
in the right hand lane I stayed in the middle of the lane as riding too far right would have me doing an endo in the first storm drain

then it happened
that unlikely collision
that car that was on the ramp feeding onto Irving Street
came up fast behind me and rear ended me

amazingly enough I was able to grip my handlebars and hang on for the ride
as the bumper hit my rear wheel square and sent me airborne straight forward
landing on my wheels with my heart racing
I landed my little air and kept things upright

the woman stopped her car 
I dismounted and hustled to her side

heart racing 
at the window of the car I saw this woman
sitting there with a dumb expression on her face
long streak of lipstick on her cheek
lip stick applicator still in hand... still held at cheek level

she looked at me and said, "sorry"


without cussing... I firmly told her that she needed to be more careful
then got on my bike and rode on

funny... it is a common reaction that the near death experience tends to involve less cussing than the close call

I wonder if she changed her behavior?

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