Friday, November 15, 2013

A Quick Rant (it's been a while!) :-)

When I first started reading the response (The WSJ's "Get Over It" Column, Translated) to some guy's column about runners (OK, You're a Runner. Get Over It), I thought the responding author (Remy) was being a bit harsh on the whiny one (Stafko). Sometimes writers find inspiration in the things that irritate them, and sometimes the results can be funny (as Mr. Remy is trying to demonstrate in his riposte to Mr. Stafko). But then I hit this line:
Why would someone want to get up at 5 a.m. and run 10 miles adorned with fluorescent tape to avoid being struck by someone who has the good sense to use a car for a 10-mile journey?
And then I lost any sympathy I might have had for the poor, unimaginative ass, because his dedication to riding around in a car is a big problem and his attempts at humor were falling incredibly flat. It never makes "good sense" to use a car. Sometimes using a car is unavoidable, but then it's just a necessary evil. It's not good and it doesn't make sense.

Further, Stafko is being unbelievably disingenuous to suggest that what a runner is doing could be just as easily accomplished in a car. In the latter case, one is gratuitously polluting our planet and becoming an even greater burden on our buckling health care system, and in the former, one is working to be a healthier person in a better world.

And the willful ignorance does not end there.

I have a theory. There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running. When runners are dashing down a street in the middle of town or through a subdivision, they know that every driver, every pedestrian, every leaf-raker and every person idly staring out a window can see them.

Some people run because they want to be in shape, and uh, sorry, Mr. Projection McJudgeypants, but running in private is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Unless you have access to an indoor track or have tolerance for being on a treadmill (I don't -- it is mind-numbingly boring), you have to run outside -- either on the sidewalk or in the road (where else would you have us run?). When I run, I just walk out my front door and go. My route depends on my mood, how much distance I want to cover, whether or not I'm in the mood for hills, and what the weather is like. But I pretty much always start and stop and my home. I make no effort to avoid being seen -- why would I? -- but I also make no effort to be visible (except in that I want to avoid being hit by cars). I'm simply running. And I'm not doing it at you.

On the other hand, my brother has mentioned that he does avoid routes where he might be more visible, because he doesn't want to seem to be flaunting the fact that he's running. When he said this, I thought he was a little nuts. But now I know that there really are asshats out there who somehow manage to take personal offense because I'm doing something that they don't do.

Seriously. That seems to be his whole problem. "I don't run and I don't like it when other people run."

Oh, well. Way to be humorless on a Friday, right?  ;-)


Keera Ann Fox said...

I sort of have the opposite thought when I see a jogger - huffing and puffing and red-faced and just repeating one foot in front of the other: That they may actually wish they could do that in private, especially if they're on a circular route and keep passing the same non-sweaty pedestrians. :-)

My rant: What gets me is that Americans allow themselves to put down any habit, choice or activity they don't care for. Where did the American attitude of supporting everyone's individuality go to?!? I miss it!

alice said...

Who was it who said, "individuality is fine, as long as it's done together" -- or some such thing? ;-)

Keera Ann Fox said...

A Republican, I'll bet. ;-)

Keera Ann Fox said...

A comment to the update you added to the post: I can kind of relate to those who are annoyed by runners (or anybody into that level of fitness). And it is because it tastes of elitism. There is a polarization also in exercise and fitness; it's become yet another arena where the haves are pitted agains the have-nots. And that takes the fun - and inspiration - out of it.

We need more middle ground. Everywhere.