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.