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.