People are funny

March 4, 2007 at 3:03 am (Day to Day)

Tonight was an atypical run, full of fun and adventure. While running on Oak St. on the corner of main, I grabbed the attention of a couple of people at a party. One person said, “Hey, it’s a running dude!” They started “running” my way. It would have been easy to ignore them and simply jog around the corner to continue my run. They may or may not have been mocking me; I perceived it as mocking. My reaction wasn’t based on either thought, however. I came to halt and walked towards them. The group of five immediately stopped as soon as I did. Surely I didn’t look intimidating of angry. With a smile on my face, I walked towards them and asked them how they were doing. We talked in the middle of the road for about five minutes, exchanging small talk and not-so-small talk. I felt like a character out of Stranger in a Strange Land. I was offered a community Dr. Pepper out of a cup and accepted. I became their water brother, it felt. They invited me to their party, with me politely refusing.

Less than ten minutes later I was at the intersection of Main and Mississippi. After crossing the street, a car of high school kids drove by. The passenger in the front seat rolled down her window and started saying something. Before finishing her sentence she pulled an air horn out blew it at me. Again, instead of jogging on, I stopped and walked towards the car, exploiting the fact that the light was red. Everybody in the car looked very nervous and apprehensive as I walked closer. I knocked on the window, rolled up at this point, and with a smile on my face asked them what they were up to and other small talk-related questions utilized to make them feel uncomfortable. The light turned green, the car drove off in haste, and I went on my way.

Both situations made me realize that people can quickly turn intimidated in just a few seconds. All it took was a faux confrontation on my part. The first group of people was obviously in a goofy mood, as most people are in that atmosphere. They were simply having fun when I jogged on by, and I became the object of their fun. They meant no harm, and I realized it. It wasn’t my intention to appear confrontational, but as soon as I stopped and walked their way, they started backing up. Was their friendliness just a nervous reaction to the fact that I approached them? Maybe, but they seemed like friendly people regardless. The second group reacted only slightly differently by my faux confrontation; instead of acting friendly, the girl acted awkwardly. She shied away by rolling up the window, just as the first group started walking backwards as I approached them. As with the first group, she meant no harm, but both groups were the butt of their own jokes. Making people feel awkward doesn’t bring joy to my face; it simply confuses me at times.

I jogged by the BSU and noticed people were inside. I hung out with a few people for about two hours. By that time, it was incredibly cold for what I was wearing and got a ride home.

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