Friday was a sunny day and I was SUPER HYPED to be screening one of my shorts on opening night of Filmed by Bike! As I left the quiet safety of the 205 bike path and entered a gritty bike lane along a busy stretch of Stark Street, felt my anxiety rise. Stark is a 4-lane street in this area, with a significant amount of gravel and debris along the sides. I remained in the bike path for as long as possible, before finding a break in traffic where I could get safely to the sidewalk on the other side.
That’s when I noticed the driveway I was aiming for was not exactly touching the street. It was more-like a small curb, and I was going to have to use some serious force to get up. What I didn’t see, there was also a deep rut in the street, alongside the already-too-high driveway/curb. The rut caught my tire and I was hurled over the front of the bike, nearly impaling my right thigh with the end of my handlebars. It all happened in ultra-slow-motion, all while thinking to myself, NOT THE FACE! (It’s been 4 years since my last bike accident, a major face-plant, which required 18 months of recovery and several surgeries before I was whole again.) With a hard triple-thud, hit my left knee, left palm and bonked the left side of my helmet on the cement. I was relieved that I’d worn a sweater under my jacket, despite it being so warm outside, because it protected my shoulder. Turned around to drag my bike out of the road, hoping one of the numerous passing cars would stop and see if I was okay.
I knew there wasn’t serious bodily harm, but my right leg was in a lot of pain, and I still couldn’t breathe – the impact had knocked the wind out of me. Unable to get oxygen, my vision started turning white, so I tried again to flag someone down, just in case I fainted.
No one stopped. I even approached a car, as it was exiting the parking lot. I was just outside the front passenger window, waving, asking for help. Traffic was coming from behind me, so the driver was craning to look AROUND me for a gap in the cars before they sped away. What the fuck! At last, another person came out of the Arby’s, where I was still sucking air at the edge of the parking lot. Got their attention, explaining that I didn’t want to be laying there unconscious, alone. Made my sweater and jacket into a pillow, and laid down until my vision returned and I could breathe again. Luckily, the person had a van and was willing to give the bike and I a lift home.
By 5pm, it was time to hobble over to Teresa’s going away party, followed by the Opening Night Street Party for Filmed by Bike! A bunch friends showed up for the screening, and I was astounded at the high quality of video production from my fellow bike-loving, filmmaker peers. I’m honored to share the big screen with them.
Post-show, a gang of us walked to the afterparty at Sam’s Billiards. Seemed obvious that I should do a little butt-kicking while we were there. Briefly considered the risk of shooting pool in a dress, then decided it was safe, since my dress was a reasonable length. Plus, it’s a private party and I was surrounded by friends.
It was about an hour before a woman approached, saying she’d just spoken with a man who claimed to know me, across the room. She’d seen him taking pictures of me, as I was shooting pool, and she was concerned that he’d been taking up-skirt shots. Together, we decided to get to the bottom of it.
Again, time slowed down during the long, awkward moments while he struggled to pull the pics up on his phone. The first ones he showed us were innocent enough… (Although how weird is it to shoot a dozen pics of a person from across a room who you don’t know?) But our hero, the woman who alerted me to the problem, wasn’t letting him off so easy. He handed over the phone and sure enough, we found the money shot of my oblivious ass, as I was facing the opposite direction, shooting pool. We made him delete the pictures (even though we all know how easy it is to recover them), and he eventually left on his own accord.
Many women have had a lifetime of social conditioning, which teaches us to be passive in situations like these. I’m disappointed in myself, I kinda wish I’d kicked him in the balls.