First let me say that usually I feel very empowered when I eat miles or in lay people’s terms run. There is just something about hitting pavement one foot at a time that is awe inspiring and let’s be honest, it does great things for the body.
But every now and then I run into the boneheads. Let me explain. A bonehead is a gender neutral term (although my very unscientific and skewed sampling leads me to believe that there are more men than women, but who really knows?). Anyway, it is a gender neutral term that refers to a person who goes out of his/her way to interfere with a runner’s progress. You know, like the biker who comes up behind you and scares you to death without warning or lets his or her dog run around the park without a leash.
Lately I have encountered more than the normal amount of boneheads which leads me to believe that it is bonehead season.
There is Bonehead 1. I will call him James. I don’t think that is his real name, but one can never be too sure. James is a fast runner. I know that because he told me. He told me while I was running with a group of women who were almost proud of themselves for running up the bridge without stopping. I say almost because they were proud until James passed us both ways, told us how fast he was running and before any of us could say something positive said “When are you all going to start running? You are barely moving.” I kid you not. I had a few choice words for him and we bantered back and forth until he demonstrated his swiftness and left us in his dust. Then I had to reassure those women that they were indeed running and that James was just a bonehead.
Another time there was Ken (again a made-up name and no I am not sure it isn’t really his). Ken would jump in his car, follow me while I ran and wait for me in my subdivision. He shouted to me that he would just love to run with me. I told him that I was not interested and he continued his pursuit until I called the police. One more time and I get a restraining order.
The other day Sam (again I have no idea if that is really his name) saw me running, stepped out in front of me and proudly stated “Your body is coming together nicely for you. Are you married? “For a split second I had a mental picture of my body in pieces coming together as I smiled said thank you and kept running. He shouted some not so nice things to the back of my head and I kept on running. I said ‘thank you’, wasn’t that enough?
When I mentioned this to a few people one woman told me that is why she tried to appear unattractive when she ran and she made sure she was not showing skin. Okay, for the sake of argument if I ever wanted to appear unattractive, how would I do that? More importantly, why would I do that? And as for not showing any skin, it is very hot here. I dress according to the weather and for comfort.
Then the boneheads who will forever have a place in my mind are the dudes in the car. They were driving across the Cooper River Bridge looked at me and yelled out the n-word. I came to a complete stop. I was shocked beyond words. I did not know what to say as they cheered and drove off. The people around me told me to ignore them and not give that word power. Not give it power? Are they freaking kidding me? That word has enough power to do a lot of damage. That word sent chills down my spine in the middle of summer. When I told my dad, he told me that someone called me that when I was four. I asked him what happened and he gave a look that only an infantry soldier, former drill sergeant, expert marksman could give me and said “I handled it.” I am not sure what that meant, but I wish he was with me when it happened this last time.
I am not reporting on boneheads to scare you. I want you to enjoy running. I also want you to be safe, be smart, and be aware of your surroundings. Run safe: the goal of running is to finish so you can do it again.
Have you ever encountered a bonehead?