Borrowed Time

You know you are old when you only see your friends at wakes and funerals. Somebody older than me said that once.

Today I went to a memorial ride in DC for Tom Hollowell. Tom was an avid, year-round bike commuter. About a week ago, not far from his work at the Smithsonian, he was run over by a driver of a car. He died. It was a hit and run. The driver has yet to be apprehended.

I didn’t know Tom. But as I looked around at the gathering, perhaps two or three hundred strong, I saw so many people I did know. Rachel M., Rachel C., Adam, Leslie, Lesly, Ted, Jean, Jeff, Joe, Peter, Jesse, Jeanne, and Rudi among them.

During the moment of silence, I spotted Laura and Cyrus. I met them a month ago at a similar event for Laura’s son and Cyrus’s brother Malik was run over and killed a few miles away while riding his bike.

I could see and hear people crying. I didn’t take pictures. I wanted to feel this. It felt dreadful.

Many, perhaps even most, of the people I know who ride bikes or walk around this city have been hit by the driver of a motor vehicle. Some more than once. It’s hard for me to say which is more miraculous: the fact that of all these victims only only one died or the fact that I was hit – while on the Mount Vernon Trail, no less – and walked away without a scratch.

Days like today remind me that I am living on borrowed time.

We all are.












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