Hell No, You Did Not Just Do That: The Tale of an Ignorant Driver

In my 9-10 years of running, I’ve encountered a lot of drivers.

I’ve been honked at…sometimes in a show of encouragement, sometimes in a naughty way, sometimes just because…

I’ve come close to getting hit…

I’ve been whistled at, yelled at and ogled (and seriously, why, men, why?)…

I’ve been stared at, glared at, looked at wistfully by drivers who probably wished they were out running setting the kind of KILLER pace that I run (not!)…

I’ve had drivers put it in reverse to get out of my way and give me the opportunity to run by…

I’ve had drivers be incredibly polite and I’ve had drivers be rude…

But until this week, I’ve never had someone pull up next to me, roll down their window and yell at me.

Let me be clear.  I run in the street.  Asphalt is much softer on the shins and joints than concrete.  I run mostly in my neighborhood on wide streets with a 25-mph speed limit.  Our neighborhood is stuffed to the brim with walkers, runners, cyclists, people with dogs–it’s an adorable little slice of Americana.  We are all over the sidewalks and streets.  We are everywhere.

I am an exceedingly courteous and safe runner.  I run facing traffic so that I can make adjustments for cars (and please tell me if you are a runner that you don’t run with your back to traffic—NEVER do that!).  Though I wear headphones, I keep the tunes turned down enough so that I can stay aware of my surroundings.  When I see a truck coming, I generally hop up onto the grass immediately.  When I see a car approaching, I consider several things:

  1. Do I spy white hair or someone of very short stature (elderly shrinking must be a real bitch!)?
  2. Are hands in a 10 and 2 position (dead giveaway for an elderly driver!)?
  3. Is the car a Buick or an old Cadillac (again, a dead giveaway.)?

If I get a whiff of an over-70 driver, my ass is on the grass unless I see obvious signs that they see me.  Otherwise, I will slide over to the curbline and run right along it so that the approaching car doesn’t have to make a huge adjustment, even tucking my arm in so that they have plenty of room.  This can actually be difficult, because I have huge feet and an over-pronating kickout running style.  Occasionally, my skis feet will whack the curb in such situations.

The point is, I yield for drivers.  I don’t assume that they will move for me.  And if a driver gives me a wide berth so that I don’t have to run right along the edge, I acknowledge it with a thank-you wave and a smile.  I feel like I’ve built up a lot of good driver karma over the years.  I’m like John Lennon in his bed-in.  Peace, baby!

But as I was running Wednesday, karma went out the window with one dumb hag.  It only takes a second, right?

The scene:  I was at the beginning of my run, easing into my pace and jamming to Tangerine by Harry Connick, Jr.  I saw two cars coming my way, with no car coming from the opposite direction.  I moved over to the edge of the curb, tucking in my elbow and getting out of their way.  I really wasn’t paying too much attention–until the first car came to a halt in the middle of the street (forcing the car behind it to come to a sudden stop), and the woman inside rolled down her window and screamed, “You need to use the sidewalk!”

It took me a second to process what was happening, by which point she was already rolling up her window and smugly driving off.  I was ENRAGED, people, ENRAGED!  I wanted to launch myself onto her car like a World War Z zombie, but she was past me.

I did the only thing I could.  I leaned out into the street and gave that sedentary bi$#h the Double Rod Salute until I couldn’t see her car anymore.

I really should thank her, because she kicked my run into high gear.  It’s been awhile since I’ve run off so much rage.  The nerve!  She really got my Native American blood boiling…or maybe that bit of Irish blood on my grandmother’s side.  I don’t get mad that often, but when I do, it’s full-on hate.

Drivers can be so rude.  If you have a good driver story to share (and I’m sure most of you do), I’d love to hear it!

I recovered from my emotional trauma 😦 by golfing yesterday with my sister TiffeeG.  She doesn’t golf, but she came along for the promise of snacks and laughter.  We had great weather and just had a ball together, even though I shot a 120.  I am getting better, though, so I’m trying not to get too discouraged…I even chipped in a shot from over 50 feet away!

Happy golfer…nice weather, day with Sissy, and no one yelling at me!
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Man, what a finish, right?  Yeah, right!

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Stay safe on those streets, fellow runners, and screw the haters!

What I’m running to:  Pumpin’ Blood by NONONO.  I got it free on iTunes–might be free all this week!  Check it out!

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24 thoughts on “Hell No, You Did Not Just Do That: The Tale of an Ignorant Driver

  1. I fully understand. A similar thing happened to my son one day. I haven’t had anyone yell at me, but I did almost get hit when a car came right at me on a curve because the driver was on the cell phone. Needless to say I wasn’t too happy. I didn’t solute, but maybe I should have… 🙂

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  2. 5:30am. Car comes down a wide, well lit street. He sees me for at least a 100 yards. Never bothers to move over. Not even a friggin foot. I don’t move either. Bc I’m pissed. He passes me with prob two feet to spare. He saw me-he glared at me like I had no right to be on the street. So I chunked my water bottle at the back windshield.
    Ok I didn’t. But I wanted to. He did get a few four letter words and the double bird shot at him though. And if he had stopped, he would have gotten a face full of pepper spray too.

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  3. What a witch!!
    I was recently almost hit by a distracted driver, but she didn’t even slow down! I barely had time to react and get out of the way, much less give her the old single finger salute.

    Be safe out there!

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    • It can be dangerous! I really love when drivers pull out almost into an intersection because they want to turn right and coast on through the stop, never looking to see if there is a runner or walker coming. I have a special love for those idiots!

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    • Honestly, the situation was upon me before I realized it…I had gotten out of her way already! She didn’t have to move for me at all…just keep driving…which was why I was so surprised. I agree, a few steps on concrete don’t hurt me at all!

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      • Every time I’ve reacted the same way I always felt bad later on. It’s just best to be the better person in the situation and not let it get the best of you

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      • To each his/her own, I guess! I think I would have felt bad later had I taken her unprovoked attack and not responded, and I don’t think that I’m “not” the better person for it. But I can certainly understand your point too.

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  4. My last encounter with a rude driver was a few months back. I was running with a group going against traffic on an old farm road that had no sidewalk. This pickup truck came towards us and we moved over as far as we could. It was far enough for him apparently. He sped up and literally ran us off the road into a ditch. I swear he wanted to hit us. My instinct was to pick up a rock and throw it at his truck, but one of the other runners stopped me with this logic, “Don’t throw it cause if you do he’ll just take it out on the next runner he sees.” I didn’t want anybody to get hit, so I put the rock down. BTW, I have that same golf outfit.

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  5. The lady driver sounds like she has too much spare time to worry about things – ignore her, life’s too short. Lovin’ the golf pics. Took me a while to work out if that was a follow through and you are left handed or a back swing and you are right handed (I think that comment that get me in trouble, but we’re friends right?!)

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  6. Great clip! One of the funniest men ever! That woman clearly didn’t know you know your running etiquette! Such a fun day, loved watching you kill it on the course, IMPRESSIVE SISTER!! Love you PP and your blog:) XOXO

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