I run. Not a ton, and not that often, but I run. 3 days a week to be specific. Enough to consider myself a runner. Enough to realize that there are two kinds of people in this world – those who wave and those who do not. I’m talking about the people I run past who are either riding their bikes, going for their own run or walk, or just driving by in their cars. It’s interesting to me to see how many people don’t wave back to me when I initiate the wave. I mean, I actually have counted…keeping loose statistical data on this subject and have determined the following…we are not all created equal. I don’t mean equality among race or religion or sex. I mean equality among wavers. Some wave, some don’t and then there are those that can’t choose a side (I’m talking about you, head-nodders).
To further my point, I have noticed there are categories of people and how they respond to my waves. Some of it is inspiring, so of it sad, but all of it is undeniably accurate.
Cyclists = Elitists. Not in a mean way, but sort of in the same way that cats are elitist. They just seem to not care to associate with the common, blue collar, basic runners. The bike bath is theirs. Do not infringe on their territory or else you can count on some dirty scowls and/or an occasional name calling. My opinion – the bike path is asphalt and therefore a more runner-friendly surface than concrete. It is part of the road and since we all pay the tax that pays for the road, we should all be able to share the bike path. I’ll hop off the path when the cat cyclist is approaching, but ease up on the attitude, Sally. Can’t we all just get along!? Percentage of wavers = 42%
Car Drivers = Simply Bad. Again, not to be mean, but when you weigh 3,500 pounds compared to me and my Asics toping in at 182, you’ve got to be a little more considerate, don’t you?! You are a relative beast, a monster compared to me, so lighten up or else you’ll crush me and that wouldn’t foster good relations of any kind between your people and mine. You’re driving a weapon – use caution. Percentage of wavers = 55%
Old People/Walkers = They mean well, or so I’d like to believe, but the people in this category are fringe players. They either waive back WITH a smile, or ignore you like they cannot see or hear you (which could be the case in some instances). Those who wave back are probably old enough to have seen their fare share of non-wavers and know that you’re only trying to be friendly, so they reciprocate with a knowing smile and gentle wave as if to say “would you like a nice plate of cookies and milk after your run?” If they have a cane or walking stick = bonus points. Maybe because they are walking and enjoying the slight breeze with the warmth of the sun on their face, they are just in a better mood than those damn cyclists (bastards). Percentage of wavers = 67%
Kids = Disappointing. Now listen, I have 3 of my own, so I understand the whole social/behavioral learning curve. You know…like teaching them how to look people in the eye when saying hello, having a firm handshake, and manners – OY, manners! Raising kids isn’t easy, but I have noticed that most kids do not wave back, much less do they make any eye contact whatsoever. Have their parents completely freaked them out about stranger danger? I know there are too many news stories about some kid getting swiped away from their front yard or some other horrible scenario that leads to frightened parents, but maybe we have over reacted. I saw a (10 year old) kid riding his bike to school the other day and my immediate thought was “Holy crap! How come he’s riding his bike to school instead of being driven by his parents in a nice safe car within the friendly confines of his parent’s Prius?? Don’t they know he could get lost, or stolen?” Then I realized, we all rode our bikes to school when I was young. Times have changes and waving to these miniature people just makes me sad – they give me nothing in return for my kindness. No hello, no wave, no eye contact…not even a courtesy head nod. Grow up fast, little people…and quit texting while your walking with those stupid ear buds. You might get hit by a car… or cyclist…or an old person. Percentage of wavers = 25%
Other Runners = usually pretty cool. They almost always wave back because we are in the trenches together, sweating it out, dodging the cars and flipping the bird to the damn cyclists. We are brothers of broken toe nails and soldiers of chaffing. There is an unspoken respect and support from other runners. They empathize, they smile and most of all, they wave back. Percentage of wavers = 92%
Time for bed 🙂