Thursday morning, I had a short shift at one job at noon, and a lot of determination to finish my run this time around. I had had a week off, and only got about 3/4 through the run the day before. I was willing to push a little harder to make this one land.
I rounded the corner onto Commonwealth, and saw a man dropping what almost looked like a banana peel into a mailbox. I am certain this is not what he was posting, but I couldn’t quite shake the idea–and fixated on it for a few blocks. It reminded me of a (pretty awful, in retrospect) short story I had written in college. The goal was to send the main character out on a mundane trip, and fill it with interesting vignettes from city life, only to have him return and report that “nothing interesting happened.”
Looking back, it was kind of a pretentious notion. I used it for a creative writing assignment, and didn’t get a spectacular grade for it. At the time, I was annoyed, but today, it was probably a lesson I really needed at the time. I was still at the age in my writing career where I thought everything I banged off was brilliant, when much of it was trite and cliche.
I needed to listen to my feedback then, but have learned a lot of that on my own, the hard way…
When I got back from my (complete) run, a story slipped across my newsfeed–and its warranted reaction from Jezebel also hit. Some runner somewhere had posted a message on his newsfeed. It was meant to inspire, but started off on the wrong foot, and ultimately landed on deaf ears (for the intended audience, anyway). An excerpt:
To the fatty running on the Westview track this afternoon:
You, whose feet barely lift off the ground as you trudge around the track. You, who keeps to the outside lane, footslogging in the wrong direction. You, who stops for water breaks every lap, and who would probably stop twice a lap if there were bleachers on both sides. You, whose gaze drops to your feet every time we pass. You, whose sweat drenches your body after you leave, completing only a single, 20-minute mile.
There’s something you should know: You f**ing rock.
Well-intentioned, I will give the guy. But, at someone who started running for his health, it also hit me weirdly as well. I think for some of the reasons mentioned in the actual runner’s reply, excerpted here:
Your whole post insults me like no end. I do not eat midnight snacks or drink beer. You probably think all “fat” people do this. Well, we do not. I ate better than most at 300 pounds. In fact, I have not had a drink in well over 20 years.
A couple of weeks back, I was feeling particularly magnanimous as I hit the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, and saw another runner who looked like she’d been at it for a while. She looked tired, she looked ready to quit. I wanted to help, and flashed her a double-thumbs-up and a manic grin. Then, immediately felt self-conscious about whether that came across as “You go, grrrrl,” or a Borat-esque “Very Nice.”
In the end, I hoped for the best and pushed it from my mind. But, the backlash to the Westview “Fatty” post made me feel like it was best to keep to myself in general. At the same time, I have really loved getting encouragement from complete strangers–hi fives and “You go!” calls from on the track. They haven’t really made or broken a run, but I have detected thin bursts of energy coming forth from that kind of encouragement. While positive feedback on this blog usually falls prey to my self-deprecation.
Perhaps, that’s where the original poster went wrong: keeping his thoughts to himself, and expanding on them later.
… Or does that mean I need to stop blogging?
Shirt of the Day: Food Zombies! (Healthy cartoon tomato, with a face, screaming and running from a pack of moldy bread, mushroom, and rotten fruit)
Current Fundraiser: Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s 2014 Walk for Change.