Monday, April 25, 2016

In which I'm in a bike accident but my eyebrows are on point

I was all alone this weekend, as Jon went to a wedding in Buffalo and Seamus went to Nashville with his school orchestra, and I stayed home to take care of the dogs. It was lovely being on my own. I didn't have to cook and I ate things like roasted cauliflower dipped in guacamole and cinnamon toast and luxuriated in cups of tea and long, uninterrupted spells of knitting and reading and watching The Vicar of Dibley.

Friday, I rode my bicycle to work. I was on my way home, flying down the last steep downhill stretch, when I saw a scooter getting ready to exit a side street. This is the scariest thing about cycling, because you have no idea if the person in the side street or the person who is signaling a turn across your lane has noticed you. So, I was going very fast, and I put on my brakes and my bike didn't respond well, but then it seemed that the scooter driver was going to wait for me. So I released my brakes, and the scooter went. I put on my brakes again, and my rear wheel began to buck as if the bike were about to flip and I lost control altogether and fell sideways into the road, which is better than flipping over, but was still terrible and I'm lucky I wasn't crushed by an oncoming car. (YES, I was wearing a helmet, although my head never hit anything.)

The scooter driver stopped and asked if I was OK and I said "No," because I was very upset and I didn't know if I was hurt or not, but I stood up and realized that nothing was broken. It seemed to me that something dramatic ought to have happened at that moment, I don't know what exactly, but God smiting the scooter driver is one idea that comes to mind. It didn't occur to me to call 911, indeed, I had completely forgotten about the existence of my bag and cell phone, and didn't notice until after I got home that my bag was hanging precariously off the side of my bike. In that anticlimactic moment, the only thing I could think of to do was get back on my bike -as absurd as that action seemed - and ride home. "See?  You're fine!" said the scooter driver, and buzzed off. I noticed that another driver had stopped and gotten out of his car, but I didn't want to interact with anyone, so I rode home.

And I am fine, except for a bruised backside and a road-rashed knee which I immediately photographed and angrily tweeted at Charlottesville City Hall because I was SO ANGRY and had to vent at someone and I feel that local government has a lot to answer for regarding the shitty cycling conditions in this city.

Lucky that this is the worst of my injuries


I told myself I would NEVER ride a bicycle in Charlottesville again, but I had weekend plans and since Jon took the car to the Richmond airport, a bike was my only mode of transportation. Saturday morning, I got back on the bike to ride to the gym for barre class. It was OK, but I was skittish on the downhills. After the gym, instead of going straight home, I rode to the public library near UVA. The ride home was awful, partly because of all the dangerous debris in the bike lane on Preston Ave, and also because of heavy traffic related to the Dogwood Parade and the farmer's market. On South Street, I had difficulty because the city has torn up the road, so it's awful for bikes and some idiot inexplicably pulled over right in front of me. THEN, after I finally got out of the worst of the traffic, some fucking asshole in an SUV turned left right across my lane, and again I was going downhill, although not as steep this time and I managed to avoid him, while he turned into the ACAC parking lot, as oblivious of my existence as if I'd been an ant on the sidewalk. The scooter guy at least had the decency to stop and acknowledge that he had harmed a fellow human, which goes a long way toward righting a wrong.

A few years ago, my uncle, aged 70, was on a cycling tour in the mountains of southwest Virginia. He was going down a steep hill and was sideswiped by a car. He flipped over and hit his head and when he didn't regain consciousness, was airlifted to a trauma center where he remained unconscious for a crazy amount of time. Two hours, if I remember correctly. Thankfully, when he finally did wake up, he was fine. What is the point of this story, other than to illustrate that we Woodrichs are incredibly hardheaded? It's that cyclists are incredibly vulnerable and that drivers frequently assault them, with few or no consequences that I'm aware of. In my opinion, any driver who injures a cyclist should be charged with assault and battery in addition to the appropriate traffic violations. My father, who's in his seventies and cycles 80+ miles a week says I need to keep my front and back lights on during the day. He also recommends neon tape on my helmet or a neon vest. Good advice, which I'll take if I ever get the nerve to get back on a bike, but I think I am done with cycling in Charlottesville.

But this post was supposed to be about the weekend, which didn't entirely involve near-death experiences. I got my eyebrows threaded, which is something I do now. It's so much nicer than trying to manage your brows by yourself, and as Grace says, "If your brows are on point, your face is on point." Are you familiar with this procedure? The ratio of improved appearance to time and money spent is enormous. How else can you get a new face for $12? It's not very painful, but I pre-medicate with 600mg of ibuprofen. On a lady pain scale, with one being wearing thong underwear and ten being walking six blocks in too-tight stilettos, eyebrow threading ranks about a three. But I have never experienced it without Advil on board. I put on a pretty sundress and walked downtown to the salon and then browsed in the yarn shop, which is my favorite downtown business. Saturday was altogether satisfactory, except for the guy who tried to kill me in front of ACAC.

The hair is tragic but the brows are good.


Sunday was more of same, and I worked more on the pantry shelves. The new shelves are finished. I just need to fix up the old built-in shelves, which were awfully dingy.

Painting the shelves

Experimenting with color for the shelf back (using paint samples I already had on hand.)



My latest knitting project. I am really enjoying this fun pattern.
It will be a pair of slipper socks. They're knitted flat and seamed.

14 comments:

  1. That knitting is lovely. I've done intarsia once and I'm in awe of those who can do it masterly.
    As a driver, I do try to share the road, but the bikers that cut me off irritate me. I've had some near run-ins with those sort that always leave me shaken up despite the face that they would have been at fault.
    Being home alone is glorious, isn't it?

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  2. Wow, that is an incredibly complex knitting pattern! It's lovely, but looks impossible :-)

    I'm so sorry about the biking thing. When I lived in Ann Arbor, (growing up and college/grad school), I biked everywhere, since I didn't own a car. I never owned a helmet, but people in cars were much nicer. In fact, pedestrians and bikers kind of rule that city, in the interior parts (there are now lots of newer areas on the outskirts that weren't there when I lived there --they are not nearly as pedestrian/bike friendly). Biking accidents can be do deadly, so I'm glad you weren't more hurt. I remember one time my mom (taught at the Univ and biked to and from work well into her 70s) fell because she had to stop suddenly for a car turning right. Luckily, she wasn't going very fast, and just ended up bruised.

    I hope you were able to recover your equilibrium with your peaceful weekend :-)

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    1. I was actually awake all night reliving the incident, but I'm over it now. :)

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  3. I like your "entitled assholes" label for this post. Biking terrifies me and Charlottesville is not bike-friendly no matter how many bike lanes the city paints.

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    1. It's not bike friendly at all, despite the fatuous PR articles that claim that it is.

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  4. Iam glad you are more or less uninjured. I haven't biked in a few years and can't get excited to start again.

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    1. Charlottesville is horrible for cycling.

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  5. I am terrified of biking on roads. Luckily, we have the O&D bike trail here, or I don't think I would have started riding again.

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    1. If Cville had trails that actually went somewhere, I'd ride them, but they're just trails intended for leisure, not ones that are useful for people who use a bike as a mode of transportation.

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  6. I am SOOO glad you able to ride/walk away from the accident. It is really unnerving how assholish car drivers can be about cyclists. I no longer am able to ride a bike (out of shape, bad knees) but I used to ride fairly extensively, when I lived in Connecticut. If you are lucky enough to have a bike lane, it still might be covered with gravel (cyclists' sworn enemy), forcing the cyclist into the regular lane. Car drivers should just be patient, but patience is in short supply on the road today.

    The beginnings of that sock look quite beautiful.

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    1. I wish the culture in the US wasn't so entirely centered on making things convenient for cars. In other countries, cars, bikes, and pedestrians manage to co-exist. Here, if you're not in a car, you're a second-class citizen. It's infuriating.

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  7. Oh that's awful how you can't bike in your town. It seems like a good town for walking, but dangerous for biking. Glad you survived with only a bruise.
    One takes their life into their hands biking on these county highways here. My next home will be in a bike friendly town for sure.
    Enjoyed the update on the shelves--and nice brows!

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    1. Thanks! Country roads are so dangerous too. My 75 year old dad does most of his biking on country roads in New York. I was super-impressed with the biking culture in Madison, Wisconsin. It's decades ahead of anything Charlottesville will accomplish.

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