Mark Matthews, an author and Salty friend, recently posted a hilarious essay about his reaction to strangers running through his neighborhood.
“Yes, if you run by my house, my nose will detect your scent, I’ll watch you like a junkyard dog, my spidey sense will tingle, and I’ll be thinking, ‘Wait, why don’t I know you? You are a bit of a stranger here? Did you just move into this neighborhood, did you run farther than you thought, or is this perhaps your first run ever? You are running through my neighborhood. I don’t know you, and I should.”
This resonated with me, first because it’s funny, and second, because it’s so true. What runner doesn’t perk up a little little, like a guard dog, when we detect motion in front of our homes, especially if it’s motion that appears to be wearing Lycra?
Instinctively, we want to know who goes there. But in reality, even when we see a fellow runner repeatedly, we may know her pace, but have no idea what her name is, or even where she lives. That would require stopping, something we runners are loathe to do.
Worse, it would require asking another runner to stop, which, as faux pas go, is right up there with asking if you can take a sip from a stranger’s water bottle. Also, runners are famously solitary souls, so for a lot of us, connecting with an unfamiliar runner is as appealing as a bout of plantar faciitis.
So even though we have an extremely major thing in common, we pass each other repeatedly with only a wave or a nod, if that. We’re intimate strangers. But we don’t have to be. Read more >>