I am a true believer in exercise. I’m a college volleyball player and was very active in sports in high school so I know the importance of getting that heart rate up and those pits sweatin’.
BUT why is going for jog so fraught with such cringing encounters? Why does exercise have to contain forced social interaction? I just want to be alone while I shuffle-run and bump my Andy Grammer Pandora station…is that too much to ask?
It started when I was stretching at the bottom of my driveway. There I was, a vision of youth and health (with a raggedy old t-shirt on and greasy hair pulled back into a fashionable ponytail) as I moved around like an uncomfortable six-year old boy standing next to his mom in the grocery store check-out line. Pulling on my arms and legs and making a face of disgust mixed with confusion (my resting face).
A red car pulled up the three-way stop a few houses down and paused at the empty intersection for an excessive amount of time before hanging a ridiculously slow Larry. The young fella in the passenger seat must have caught a whiff of my signature scent, Proactiv and Ranch (patent pending), because he half waved at me…but he also may have been trying to fan the smell away from his face…it is unclear to me now what really happened but it was not the start I envisioned.
Then came the concept of passing people on the sidewalk. When you are facing the person you are going to pass on the sidewalk it is all about consistent avoiding of eye-contact. That is, until you get to the point when you are about five feet from each other. This moment is pivotal. What you do in that split-second will change the course of your workout undoubtedly. You can:
A) Ignore them. This is the best option because like I said, leave me alone with my jams, bro.
B) Offer a half-sincere, closed-mouth smile and maybe throw in a slight nod and keep on your merry way. It is cordial and as friendly as you need to be. In fact you can count that as your good deed for the day!
C) Look up to give them the aforementioned smile when you are blindsided when they speak out a “hello” or “good day”. These comments are usually dished out causally by elderly couples or the motherly type walking (dragging) her purse-dog on a sporty pink leash. I have no advice for you in this surprise scenario because I am still trying to change my initial response from a choke/cough mixed with an ungraceful wave.
After one of these “run-ins” all I can think as I bumble on with a clenched jaw is…
This is awkward.