Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jogger's Ettiquete

I've got fifteen minutes till the bus comes, so I thought I'd do a post. Considering most posts are constructed painstakingly over the course of an hour or two, this rigid time constraint should present some interesting challenges.

Or I'll get bored and end after a hundred words or so. Either way.

Anyway, today's subject is running. I know I've sort of given up on the *running update* feature. For once, that's not because I've taken a lazy man's hiatus, but because my current path involves so many footpaths that Google Map is really unhelpful in determining exactly how long the route is. But I'm still getting out at least four times a week, and when the weather dips below five degrees, that's an accomplishment in itself.

More specifically, though, today's subject is my run this Monday. For a while, I've been left with a conundrum whenever I run into (rarely literally) into someone I know while on a jog. If I'm being honest, it really interrupts the flow of the run; if I'm being really honest, I often have a hard time coming up with anything more than idle chitchat if I haven't prepared conversation topics in advance. (At least I've gotten to the point where the topics are just prepared mentally. The cue-cards are getting burdensome.) So, generally, if I see someone I recognize while jogging, I pretend I'm very, very intent on the process at hand.

This policy, understandably, has created some mixed feelings towards yours truly. So on that Monday run, I decided to stop and greet each person I recognized. And of course, that's the day I run into three different people: one fairly good friend, one more distant friend (but still a nice guy) and my supervisor.

This stopping resulted in three of the most awkward conversations of my life. The one with the good friend was fine enough; a little strained since we were both heading in different directions, but okay. The one with my supervisor was... more strained. He very clearly wanted to be somewhere else. And the third conversation was entirely awkward; my earphones got tangled, so my part of the conversation was largely repeating "What?" and "pardon" over and over again, while his part descended into incomplete sentences and random blandishments. To sum up, forget honesty; sometimes feigned mistaken identity and sustained silence is the best policy.

From this experience, I think there are three possible conclusions:

a) People are uncomfortable talking with someone who was clearly in the middle of a non-talking activity. (This statement is, of course, dependent on the activity.)
b) People are uncomfortable talking with someone who is clearly sweating profusely and smells terrible. (Unfortunate non-running behavior confirms this statement.)
c) People are uncomfortable talking to me. (Perhaps the most likely conclusion, but one that requires a more long term solution.)

That's it--bus is imminent.
Later Days.

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