Jun 23, 2013

On Flatulence and Judging Others...

While I was out jogging one morning recently I came to the construction site along my route.  I usually run by before anyone arrives to work for the day. However, on this particular day I got a late start, so my normal times got moved about 20 minutes to the right (or left? I can never remember which direction means later), and by the time I got there, several folks were already readying equipment, moving road barriers, and so on.

One of the great things about morning workouts is that they are good for clearing the body of excess, um, things that accumulate overnight.  Bits of soreness, funky little muscle twinges, air (gas), and so on.  Also, while there are many advantages to working out with friends, some things are best experienced solo, and I can never do yoga in a group, because yoga is probably the best ever for clearing the body of excess things.

Bringing me back to my running path, 20 minutes later than normal, while my body is still going through the clearing of the things. I have made a habit of waving or acknowledging anyone I encounter along a jog, regardless of their demeanor or mode of transportation.  I try to vary my method according to how I feel it will be best received.  Stern-looking folks with earbuds get a solemn nod. Moms pushing jogging strollers get a wave and a "good job!" and sometimes even a high-five. And so on.

I actually have a reason for this, and it's not (necessarily) to spread cheer or be super-annoying before 7 am.  I read somewhere that waving is good because it humanizes the other person, and over time they are likely to respond more favorably.  Meaning, if I wave to the bus drivers as they are pulling out for their morning runs, they are more likely to see me as that-friendly-running-lady, rather than one-of-those-annoying-joggers, and not run over me when it all hits the fan.

That said, spreading a little cheer isn't bad either.  We can all use an acknowledgement of our humanity, at the very least.

So of COURSE at the exact moment I was debating when and how to greet the worker, some air decided that it needed to exit my body.  And of COURSE I am working on my core strength to be able to control these exits better, but like many women after having one or several children, my core strength has a long way to go.  So I was jogging past the guy setting out cones, willing myself to make it just a little further because, seriously. While I would love to think I don't give a rip, "Good morning! >toot<" is not good for my public persona.

A couple things happened at once.  First, several cars passed, greatly increasing the background noise, especially in the worker's vicinity, thank God.  Also, I was concentrating so intently on being as quiet as possible in all regards, that before I knew it I had passed the danger zone and was back to solo status.

So then of COURSE Contrary Kerri made an appearance, reminding me how unfriendly and selfish I had been to not wave at the guy, and how he probably now thought I was incredibly standoffish, and probably a snob. I told Contrary Kerri to dial it back one or ten notches, because good grief it was first thing in the morning, and maybe the guy was worried more about his work than about joggers passing by, and oh my goodness, are we this worried about what people think of us while we're trying to hold in toots?

Well. That made me think about how I perceive other people.  Living in the area I do, there is a perception about people's affluence, and friendliness (or lack thereof), and emphasis on appearances. When someone doesn't greet me, or seems preoccupied when I attempt a conversation, it's easy to assume they are being mean, or snobbish, or whatever. But when I put myself in their place, suddenly I can see about 23 other reasons they might not be gazing intently into my eyes, thanking the Lord Himself for this gift of conversation with Skerrib. And the interesting thing is that I'll never know exactly what's going through people's heads when they are talking to me (or not), but the assumptions I make definitely affect how I view the world.  And that makes me want to give people the benefit of the doubt more often. Maybe not always, but usually.

So the next time you are tempted to think bad things about someone for ignoring you or blowing you off, just remember: maybe they were trying desperately not to fart loudly in front of you.  Then you can thank them silently for preventing an awkward situation.

You're welcome...


Ruth said...

I find yoga to be equally refreshing.

jaacs said...

LOL! Love t! Walmart does this to me. I find it a relief to go with a child in diapers. While I try to find an empty row when this happens, at least I can blame it on the toddler, right? Welllll....now I also have two older ones,,,who, you know, TALK!...and they'll say, "ew, Mom. Did you just fart?" WAY too loud..,and then I have to threaten their life if they say another word. Hahahaha. Anyway, I just know that if I'm "plugged up", I need only go to Wally World and walk around. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling this to about 20 gals from church at a baby shower. Pretty sure everyone will run if they see me walking down the aisle.

Sorry. Random story.

Now laughing that the security code I have to enter to post this came up in auto-correct as "clear me". Hahaha...I'm so mature. :)

Skerrib said...

Clear me, indeed! Yes to all you said. Except Target instead of Walmart for me.

C. Beth said...

I love this post.