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:
- Do I spy white hair or someone of very short stature (elderly shrinking must be a real bitch!)?
- Are hands in a 10 and 2 position (dead giveaway for an elderly driver!)?
- 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!
Man, what a finish, right? Yeah, right!
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!