Have you hugged a totally random sweaty stranger in spandex today?

Because I have.

This one is going on my list right under “kissing a fireater.”  Not quite as bizarre, but worthy of inclusion.

This is what you get for being a misanthrope, I suppose.  I was minding my own business, just walking through town on a day too cold for any sane person to be outside, let alone running.  I ran track in high school and college, and racked up a lot of shin-splints and a pair of knees that reminded my doctor of an eighty-year-old’s before I hit twenty.  Then I realized that runners are insane and that I wanted to be able to walk when I was eighty, so I quit.  Now I walk.

As I started down a side street, I saw a couple of women I vaguely know.  Being an introverted grump, I changed course just to avoid the effort of an awkward semi-conversation.  I headed down another street, only to see a guy I vaguely know.  At this point, I was thinking, “Seriously.  Can’t an introvert catch a break?”  That’s when I was blindsided by Totally Random Sweaty Stranger in Spandex, who said, “Can I have a hug?  It’s National Hug a Runner Day.  I’m not running right now, but I’m really tired.”

It sounded like a total line, but since the guy I vaguely know was just across the street and I felt reasonably sure that if Sweaty Spandex Guy tried to mug me, Vague Acquaintance Guy would at least call for help, I said, “Sure,” and gave him a hug.  As lines go, it wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever gotten (that honor is reserved for the winner who told me that if I was gravy, he’d sop me up with a biscuit.  I don’t even know what that means).  Anyway, I like hugs.  Well, not so much the sweaty spandex kind, but a hug’s a hug, and it’s been that kind of a week.  It wasn’t a skeezy gropey hug, and I didn’t have to kung fu him or anything, so that was good.  

But because I overthink everything, this five second encounter brought almost every facet of my personality clamoring to the surface.

Nerdy Me immediately checked her reflection in a car window to make sure he hadn’t slapped a “Kick Me” sign on her back.  Sadly, this was my first reaction.

Maternal Me responded, “Oh, sweetie, that’s so sad.  Anybody else would think that was a come-on, but you just reverted to second grade.”

Feminist Me felt really conflicted and started pondering the injustices of cultural expectations that women be accommodating.

Introverted-Grouch Me started getting all touchy about the ways extroverts impose themselves on introverts and invade their personal space.

Ten-Seconds-Too-Late Me came up with a bunch of snappy comebacks, and let me tell you, my ten-seconds-too-late comebacks are awesomely snappy.

Writer Me thought, “Oh, Random and Sweaty Dude, you are so gonna wind up in a story.  Or at least a blog post.”

And then, Research-Fanatic Me went home and Googled “National Hug a Runner Day,” expecting to discover a link to an article about scams and urban myths and bad pickup lines.

It is actually National Hug a Runner Day.

Now Introspective Me is having a little chat with Overthinking-Everything Me.

And Totally Random Sweaty Stranger in Spandex has run off into the sunset, blissfully unaware that when he asked a complete stranger for a hug this morning, he got hugged by about fifty different people at once.

Hugs to all you runners out there.

4 thoughts on “Have you hugged a totally random sweaty stranger in spandex today?

  1. And posts like this, Brenna, are why you absolutely deserve to be a published writer. Holy cow, this made me smile. 🙂

    1. Jen! It’s lovely to see you here in the wilds of the interwebs. Thanks so, so much. I’m delighted to have spread some joy. I’m sure Totally Random Sweaty Stranger would agree. 🙂

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