it's cool here (well, it's 87 or so with only like 50% humidity which certainly qualifies as coolER than normal) so nate and i (after playing outside half the morning!) decided to go on an afternoon jog around 1:30 or so. We jog and walk quite a bit (sometimes twice a day; why am i not skinny mini?) around our neighborhood. it's quiet and not too traffic-ey. it's the type of tree-lined, brickhouse city neighborhood where people out walking their dogs or baby strollers generally wave and/or say hi. people (generally) clean up their dog poop. they keep their lawns nice enough. cars passing by generally slow down and drive COMPLETELY on the other side of the street to give runners/walkers enough room.
we started on our walk. my cross country coach in high school taught us NOT to run with music/headphones on...several reasons. 1. (and more important at the time when i was running competitively) it messes with your race concentration. and 2. when you are street running, it can be dangerous to not be aware of what is happening around you. (dangers being cars or people or animals or bikers.) as a general rule, i tend to agree with this. I know a LOT of people run with music or podcasts - my husband included. I'm not saying I wouldn't do it - I have run with headphones; I just prefer to do so on tracks or treadmills where i don't have to worry about traffic. since my neighborhood is so quiet and i don't feel like i am disturbing anyone, I often run with my iPhone set on top of the stroller, listening to Pandora. (pretty quietly so i feel it doesn't distract me; but maybe it did today? because i remember looking down to see who was singing (Jack Johnson) when someone called out 'hey' from behind. i glanced back and initially thought he was also out walking and kind of half waved. then he caught up with me.
him: hey how are you doing?
me: good, how are you?
him: are you married?
(nervous giggle - GAWD. why do i giggle?)
him: really? cause you are beautiful. just really beautiful.
(cause beautiful people can not marry?)
me: uh, thanks. (nervous smile; he was starting to creep me out.) we are just getting ready to start our run.
him: oh. how far are you going to run?
me: we usually go about 2 miles or so.
him: so, but you are married? you are so beautiful SO i just had to stop and see.
(does this mean he stopped his car to see me!?!? i glanced around to see but i couldn't tell. totally creepy.)
me: yep. married.
(looks down at left ring finger, bare except for my ring tan line.)
i don't like to run with my ring.
(awkward silence where we continue walking together. i am waiting for the corner to turn and G-O.)
him: well, do you date?
me: uh. no.
him: ok, well, have a nice day. (turns and walks the other way).
I didn't look to see where he went either. I just started walking faster and in the opposite direction. you know, it's not like this happens to me everyday, but it's not like this is the first occurrence either. (last week i got hit on at the big red fina gas station before happy hour and felt like a million dollars! i had dried my hair for the first time in weeks and put on a real shirt. it was a non-creepy confidence booster.) the thing that creeped me out most about this guy is that I don't know WHERE he came from. he was just BEHIND ME all of a sudden. also, he was so NORMAL looking. he was in khaki shorts, a pink stripped polo, and sandals. he even had a freaking blackberry clipped to his belt in one of those little leather holder thingeys. his hair was cut and his face clean. he wasn't old but not young either. it didn't look like he was part of any lawn or repair crew. (not that those men are creepy; it would at least explain his presence.) he was just THERE. i know i was wearing a tank and shorts but he made me feel like i was in heels and pasties. pushing a stroller. (which he made no mention of and barely glanced at.)
i don't consider myself that paranoid of a person, but it ruined the rest of my run. IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD. every car that passed made my heart beat a little faster. i tried to only run down streets that people were out doing yard work or whatever. one car (full of four men) kind of slowed and then floored it as they passed. i don't think this was related but it scared the shit out of me. ugh. and then i thought maybe i should call the cops. but what would i say: 'this man told me i was pretty?.' and then i thought maybe i am overreacting. maybe he was a nice guy (ha.) he was just trying to be flattering. not a big deal.
i just don't even want to think about it anymore (but had to get it out.) i'm sure i am making a big deal of nothing.
i just hate feeling all VULNERABLE. particularly so close to home. not that i am all hard, but i'm not stupid either. i worked in downtown little rock for five years. The majority of that time I parked in an unsecure lot and walked the 6 or so blocks to my office. i was careful. not once did i ever really feel unsafe. (in fact, i was way more worried b/c drivers in little rock OFTEN have a hard time grasping the concept of a PEDESTRIAN.) when i lived in st. louis, i worked in the middle of downtown. (i worked catering so we came out at weird hours, 2 or 3 in the morning; we were a little more careful to walk together and be aware.) as a general rule, i am more scared of hard core mary kay ladies (the makeup) than i am of bums. i try hard not to live my life with fear, but i know there is plenty of crazy out there.
ugh. ugh. ugh.
i guess there is no moral; just be aware.
if only he knew i wore christmas pants with striped tank tops in the mid-afternoon in august.