As a runner who's been on the receiving end of incredible contempt and insolence from drivers, motorcyclists, and bikers for many years, I thought I might be uniquely qualified to compose a few helpful, friendly suggestions; "Rules of the Road," if you will - something of an olive branch from us to you.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you see us puttering along on the side of the road we share.
We know we're on the "wrong" side of the street, so you need not scream it out your passenger-side window as you speed past disapprovingly. You see, we're there intentionally because runners and walkers need to move against the traffic for safety. You know, so that you can see us - and we can see your happy faces as you glide on by. And speaking of you gliding by
Coming as near us as you can along the bike lane or the "berm" was kind of funny the first 148 times you did it, but we're kind of over it now. See, it's just that we really, really don't appreciate the little hairs on our necks standing up because you came this close to completely flattening our toes. We get that you would prefer we were not on your street and everything. However, you sort of have a legal right (as a driver) to yield to us (as pedestrians). Yes, we know you won't, we're just saying.
ADDENDUM to Rule 2:
Oh, and by the way, if you're wondering why you get a shooting pain in your shin two days later, it's because we've stuck a pin in our little "Rotten Random Roadster" voodoo dolly in retribution. Just FYI.
We're not ignoring you, fellow runners, walkers, and various passers-by. Honest. Runners are "in the zone" when we're into a comfortable stride. So, between that, remembering to breathe and trying not to get annihilated by traffic (See Rules 1 and 2), we have little concentration left for anything else. So, Mom, Aunt Edna, and neighbor Sissy from down the block, please don't be offended if we don't say "Hello!" right away when you see us running. Trust me, in that state, we wouldn't notice Brad Pitt if he came sauntering by, either.
The answer is yes. Your question is, "Do you really have to run in the rain?" You can interchange that last word for any of the following words / phrases: snow, sleet, intense heat, fog, biting cold, thunderstorm and monsoon - but the answer is still yes. We admit that we're a bit obsessed but heck, there are far less healthy obsessions, right?
Wildlife gets the right-of-way. Please bear it in mind as we swerve to miss them. And, if you'd be so kind, we'd appreciate the same courtesy we afford the squirrels, groundhogs, deer, et al.
Please don't charge us with guilt by association. What I mean to say is, just because you happened upon a runner who: wasn't wearing reflective gear at night, didn't observe proper traffic laws, or smarted off to you for no apparent reason doesn't mean the rest of us condone that behavior. Please try to forgive them and not punish us. We'll make sure to fill their water bottles with lemon juice if they continue to act badly. And, speaking of our counterparts
Dear fellow runners / walkers,
Please take these cautions under advisement: 1.) Check behind you before clearing your nasal cavity or throat of sinus drainage (the slower set may not be as fast as you but that doesn't mean we deserve to be treated like spittoons), 2.) Please help us help each other by "skootching" over when you're walking or running four or more across, and 3.) Ah yes, I know we tend to move over for wildlife but, would you mind reigning in Fido's retractable leash as we try to eke past? We do think he's just as cute as a button (Truly!) - it's just that, we only recently paid off our dental bill and don't want to incur the cost of the cap we'll need after chipping a front tooth as we hit the pavement because he clotheslines us if it's all the same to you, thanks?
Oh, and smile - we don't want to show the vehicle people any signs of weakness or discord.
Happy motoring, all!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .