Flashback: Winter, Connecticut, 2011. Forecast: Monday: snow, 6-12 inches. Tuesday: snow 6-12 inches, Wednesday: snow, 6-12 inches, Thursday: snow, 6-12 inches, Friday: snow, 6-12 inches, Saturday and Sunday: snow, 6-12 inches. Tons of snow every day. Every. Single. Day. Mike fell off the roof three times while shoveling up there.
Yes, last year was a nightmare. It would take me half an hour just to get out of the parking lot at work. Why, you ask? Because once you got out of the parking lot, there was nowhere to go. There was so much snow they had nowhere to put it all. So it stayed on the streets. They tried to plow it but ended up just pushing it to the side, making all the streets in Hartford one lane roads. One lane traffic. At rush hour. It became a game of chicken. You would start down the road. Another car would be coming up the road. You would get closer. And closer. One of you has to back down. One of you has to give. Well, let me just tell you something. You may be coming at me with your souped up, bass booming, low-riding, rap blaring tricked out ride, but I am a hormonal, hungry, winter-hating, snow-despising 47- year-old in the middle of a hot flash so get the *$%*# out of my way.
This winter is different. Wonderfully different.
And so it was today in this 50 degree weather that I set out for my run. Sometimes, you take those first few steps and you know... you just know.... it's going to be a great run. Today was one of those times. I'm out there in the sunshine. I feel great. My legs feel stronger. I can feel the sweaty efforts of Bikram starting to pay off. My lungs breathe in the clean, fresh air. My arms pump rhythmically. I go to my favorite running place, Stratton, of course. I cruise through the entrance, around the parking lot and hit the bike path. Running, running, running. Feeling great. Happy, happy, happy. Running down the path. Legs working great, arms working great, whole body in sync. I'm loving this. Haven't had a good run in a while. This run is giving me a much needed running confidence boost.
I'm coming to the end of the path, right before the turnaround. In front of me I see a man walking a dog. The man is holding a child. A little boy. It looks like maybe the boy had gotten tired walking and the dad just scooped him up. The dad was walking in the same direction I was running, so facing forward. The boy was turned backwards. So he was looking at me. I saw the boy watching me as I approached. His eyes were glued on me. I got closer. His blue eyes got wider. I came up along side them. "Hi!" I said as I passed, looking at the little boy. What a cute little boy. "Hi" said the dad. I was about ten feet in front of them when I heard it. The dad's voice, in obvious answer to a question from the little boy: "It was a woman running."
It was a woman running?? Wait a minute here. What?? Why? Why did the Dad have to explain to his little boy that I was a woman running?? I mean, the boy was like three or four years old. I'm sure he has seen a woman before. And people running. So what, exactly, was the problem? Why didn't he recognize the fact that I was a woman who was running? The little brat.
Hours later, the question nags at me still: what, exactly, did he think I was?