Let’s pretend you’re a teenager lad driving a car filled with fellow teenage lads. You spy a runner, innocently running along the pavement. What do you do?
The standard options are:
a) Pay no heed and drive on.
b) Wind down the window and yell something idiotic.
I think it depends on your personal level of loutishness? Back when I started Proper Exercise twelve years ago, the main answer was a) but a good dozen times I encountered b).
I’d be lumbering along, listening to the rat-a-tat of my heart, when a small car with a very large and noisy exhaust would cruise by. Next came the beeping horn and shouting of insults pertaining to my weight.
At first I confess I was not a tough cookie! I’d wither inside, instantly transported back to my awkward high school state. I soon adopted a Vampire Walking schedule to avoid human contact. But with time I got brave and focused and could laugh it off.
Recently I discovered that there is an option c). It’s a new and far more sophisticated technique.
I was power-walking along the other day, absorbed in a podcast, when I saw a car out of the corner of my eye. As it approached I could see the people inside were waving wildly and enthusiastically at me.
I did what I am conditioned to do when someone waves at you: I waved back with equal enthusiasm!
Then, the split second processing of the event:
How nice to get some encouragement! Is that my neighbour?
HANG ON A BLOODY MINUTE.
It was a carful of teenage boys. That I did not know at all.
I felt like a total goose. Those rotters got me good!
I heard the mocking hur hur hur hur of their laughter as they sped away.
And then a few days later… a different walk, a different car… I fell for it again!
I still get the giggles thinking about it. And it happened during the same week of our 5K Beginners Course where we’re encouraging our dear runners to be bold and brave about getting outside for exercise. Nobody is paying attention to you when you run, says the good Coach Julia.
99% of the time she’s right. Everyone’s too absorbed in their day to pay any attention to me plonking along. But sometimes… those boys. They’re a good test to make sure I practice what we preach!
Image from mlkshk.com but obv. by Gary Larson.