It was pre-dawn on a Sunday morning, the first Sunday in February, and it was cold and dark. I met a running pal at 5:30 a.m. for a 12-mile run – not at all an unusual thing for people like us. But as we were soon reminded, not everyone is like us.
Running down along U street, a major thoroughfare here in Washington DC, we passed a McDonalds restaurant on the corner of 14th street and U street which had a 24-hour service window. While it was very early in the morning for us, it was very late at night for other people, such as the two young guys standing on the street corner, scarfing down their cheeseburgers. One of these fellas spied us running, and he doubled over in laughter. Pointing his finger at us, he yelled out, “Get a grip!” and kept laughing.
We didn’t say anything in return; we just kept running, but my running friend commented on it a few minutes later. He was clearly very annoyed. I hadn’t thought much about it, but the more I considered it, the more I, too, became annoyed. I try not to judge other people’s lifestyle, and while I promote running and an active lifestyle, I don’t badger those who choose not to share in these activities. But who was this guy to laugh at us?! After all, there he was, drunk, hanging out on a corner in the cold dark, eating a a greasy burger. And we were the ones who had to get a grip?? Even if he had no interest in doing what we were doing, at least my friend and I were working on something, working to improve ourselves. What was he doing???
We finished our run, enjoying the dawn come up as we circled back around to our starting point. As the saying goes, it takes all kinds, but I’m still startled on occasion by how little non-runners understand what it is we do, and why. Hopefully, at least some of them will get it soon.