When I run my mind goes to weird places. Sometimes I think of work ideas, sometimes I make up back stories about the people I come across en route, sometimes I contemplate the universe and what my tiny existence (both metaphysical and stature) has to offer. Sometimes I reflect on situations I’ve been in and look at them from a different perspective, today I realized how funny one of those were to me. Pretty sure I scared the bajeezus out of some poor girl walking home from school a couple years ago.
The route I run is really pedestrian friendly. I run past a couple parks, a golf course clubhouse, an elementary and a high school. There’s always other runners and sometimes I get home early enough to cross paths with schools out traffic.
When I got home today I found my wife struggling to get the kids to nap, the stroller is my pretty sure fire solution, so I get the kids sun blocked and clothed up. Grab their milk cups and fill a water bottle for me. Try on about a dozen sunglasses between the two tired but fighting it children, fire up the Bluetooth speaker and head out.
It’s a warm, sunny afternoon. Plenty of people loading up for a three day weekend of camping, doing yard work, and setting up play pools in the neighborhood. Not to brag but, my kids are adorable, I get a lot more conversations going when I run with the stroller. Quick “Aahh”s and the occasional “well hello”s for the most part, today a kid yelled “dad of the year” a little too loud, damn near woke them up. Another mom let me know that they were out by smiling “well that worked!”
On the last stretch of the route, I remembered the time I didn’t have kids with me and an awkward conversation.
I had just started to run somewhat regularly, my endurance was nonexistent. On the final stretch I was huffing and puffing something fierce. On this day, school was just let out and a lot of kids were walking home. Very few kids say hi back, but I say hi to everyone I cross paths with in the neighborhood.
A girl was walking in the opposite direction most kids were, like back towards school. Her head was down and her backpack looked rather heavy. She let her hair fall over her face as if she was trying to disappear. Of course I say hi with a smile hoping to convey some sort of comfort or bright spot to her day. She peeked thru the hair and quietly and politely responded with her sort of “hmm.” It was more than most kids offer.
A few strides down the sidewalk, I notice a folded wad of dollar bills. I pick it up and see that it is 9 or 10 bucks worth. I turn around yelling “excuse me, excuse me miss?”
She turns around.
“I just found this on the sidewalk, did you happen to drop your money?”
My first impression of the girl was a middle school aged, woe is me, no one understands persona. Well, turns out she must have been an Olympic training track phenom. The minute some old guy was holding out cash asking if she lost it, she was gone!
I’m glad. She did the right thing. I must’ve looked like an after school movie creeper. Do they still make after school specials?