Friday, March 31, 2006

That's a Nice Long Walk You're Taking

There is an elderly gentleman who lives on a street near me. I guess he lives there. He stands at the end of his driveway - or at the end of someone's driveway - and waves to people as they drive by. Often I am one of the lucky who gets to wave and is greeted in return. This guy cracks me up. He always has a smile on his face and is always happy to see you. If memory serves, he is out there in all kinds of weather, but that could be me just making him seem more ethereal.

Yesterday was about 66 degrees. It would have been a wasted day had I not taken the opportunity to get outdoors and run or bike or something. I decided to run up the street this guy waves on. What the hell.

I run by him heading out on my route. He is busy waving to motorists so I hardly get a wave or a hello or anything. I don't think anything of it.

On my return, I will pass right in front of him on the roadway. I turn my IPod down so I can hear him. He is waving frantically at me now. I wave back. His smile is incredible. Then he says:

"That's a nice long walk you're taking."

Normally I wouldn't be upset at all, but running is a sore spot for me. I try hard to do it. I try to make it look good and effortless. I try to run. I thought this feeling would pass when I started running and getting in shape and speeding up, but this comment reinforced my insecurities.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear - I run slowly. I am winning no races with my pace. But please don't point that out to me! Don't demean my activity by pointing out that you, elderly dude, could likely beat me in a race!

You know what? Who cares. You stand at the end of your driveway and wave to people. What kind of freak is that?!

That was horribly mean and I don't mean it - really. I don't mean it. But that was my first thought. And I am sure he was being very nice and neighborly. But it still pissed me off.

I will still wave to him as I drive by. I may still wave as I run by. But next time I run by, I will be sprinting - which I am sure looks sort of like running.

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