In an effort to get rid of my food baby, I went for a run “with” Jason last week (“with” meaning we left the house at the same time, then I promptly waved goodbye at his back as he shoomed away). I’m heavier and slower than my lean-yet-nightmarishly-tanned version from last summer, but I tried to stay positive as I set out to conquer the hilly 6.5 mile loop.
My pace was slow but steady, and I settled into a decent groove, enjoying the crisp air that was warm enough to warrant running in a t-shirt, yet chilly enough so I wouldn’t overheat. I quickly zoned out into my “zen mode,” where I let the stresses of the day dissolve and let my thoughts wander to and from any number of topics. I used to run with my old iPod “Classic,” but after I left that bad boy on a plane, I got used to running without music and just let my inner monologue keep me company.
I trudged on, totally zonked out, and soon approached the Pagliacci on 10th and Miller. I was staring straight ahead down the sidewalk and wiping some sweat off my nose when I noticed someone standing off to the side. I’m not sure if he was waiting for a bus or getting ready to cross the street, but when he saw me his face lit up and he shot his hand up in the air. Confused, I focused on him and my brain, thinking this guy knew me, searched its reserves for a name. Who is this dude? Is he a TN Multisports teammate? Have I worked with him?
Brain: “Scanning for recognition…scanning…scanning…scanning…”
Me: “…well? Do I know him?”
Me: “Ugh, brain, you are the worst.”
Brain: “Don’t rush me! You’ve got a lot of useless shit in here. Do you really need to know the theme song to The Golden Girls?”
Me: “I don’t need your judgment. And I will not thank you for being a friend right now because you’re seriously letting me down here. How the hell we got through college is beyond me.”
Brain: “Whatever…anyway, yeahhhh, we don’t know this guy.”
After finally establishing I did not know this man who was standing on the sidewalk with his hand outstretched, I hesitated, not exactly comprehending what he wanted from me. My eyes flickered up to his hand, which he held rigid, and he exclaimed, “You rock!”
And then I realized that all this dude wanted was to high-five me because I was out running. I smiled, smacked his hand with mine, and shouted, “Thanks!” As I ran off, he called after me, “You’re doing great!” and I grinned all the way down the street.
Of course, as I replayed the scene back in my head, my warm fuzzies gave way to intense neurotic shame as I remembered one crucial detail:
I scratched my nose to wipe the sweat away, then I used that same hand to high-five him.
OH CRAP, HE THINKS I PICKED MY NOSE AND THEN WIPED IT ON HIS HAND!!!
HE IMMEDIATELY REGRETTED OFFERING ME THAT HIGH-FIVE, I KNOW IT
I AM A DISGUSTING HUMAN BEING!!!
I MUST SEQUESTER MYSELF IN MY HOME AND NEVER RUN OUTSIDE AGAIN OUT OF SHAMEEEEEEE
And then I couldn’t stop thinking about this scene:
So for the remainder of my run, my emotions alternated between feeling happy over a stranger’s random act of awesomeness and embarrassed by the potentially misunderstood nose itch. But ultimately, my happiness edged out over the shame (barely), so I wanted to author an open letter to the Guy Standing in Front of the Pagliacci on 10th:
Dear Guy Standing in Front of the Pagliacci on 10th,
A few things:
This Mediocre Athlete