In modern vehicles everything is illuminated if you need it to be. We’ve gotten used to sill lights illuminating the grass or sidewalk when we get in or out of the car. It helps us see whether we’ve stepped into something we shouldn’t. Your car can also light up the path to your door. I’ve used the lamps in the vanity mirror on the passenger side myself for years to browse a newspaper or magazine at night. My girlfriend pointed out this reading light to me in her car; at the same time I noticed the light in her mirror, the driver’s mirror. I’ve always found that ridiculous. Surely nobody puts on make-up sitting in the driver’s seat? Oh yes, they do!

As a man who gets his short beard back into shape only every few days, I appreciate a bathroom mirror. And as a man who has typical male blinders on, I always thought that all other men do the same. Just like women who touch up their lips or eyeliner. They do that at home … or evidently not. A week ago on my way to work I saw a young, well-dressed man on my left who was shaving (!) in front of the interior mirror, twisting and turning while waiting for the traffic lights to change. He seems to have been in a rush and didn’t have time to do it at home. Or did he come from his secret affair (instead of the “long meeting at the hotel”) and was going home, so was covering his tracks? Let’s hope not. I’ve heard about women touching up their make-up while waiting in a traffic jam or at traffic lights. The equivalent to shaving basically. At the wheel. Um, OK.

It’s obvious that you’re not allowed to do that while driving (and even during a brief stop at the traffic lights I find it questionable). Nevertheless, quite a few people seem to do it; because they want to use the time in the car as efficiently as possible and stay in bed a few minutes longer? Perhaps, but for me as an at-home shaver the vanity mirror in the car has always been irrelevant (except for reading), and now it’s in my head. I am suddenly noticing mainly young women who park their cars and quickly check on their make-up before getting out. I see men and women who bare their teeth before they get out to check for any leftover breakfast crumbs. And all that in the warm light of the mirror lamp. That lamp seems to be more important than I had previously assumed.

Don’t we all want to look good for others? And for ourselves?
I’ve learned something again; late but it was definitely enlightening. My girlfriend tells me that on the passenger side the flip-up cover has come off and therefore the lamp no longer works. Here’s another thing I’ve learned: this shape of lamp with contacts at both ends of the glass body is called a “festoon”; in my case it is rated at 12V and 3W. I’ll replace it at some stage soon. Until then I’ll have to shave and put on my make-up in the driver’s seat. There’s always something, isn’t there?


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