Here's the thing - I can honestly say that I am not rude on purpose. Unless of course someone has done something really egregious like hover over me while I am checking out at the grocery store. Then I can get into passive aggressive mode lickety split.
However, there have been times when I have been exceptionally rude and I didn't even know it. The day I started my first ever real job out of college, I went to catch the commuter bus from Columbia, Maryland to downtown Washington, D.C. This was not only my first day on the job, but my first day riding the big people, adult bus. Can you see me?
I drove to where I'd pick up the bus and just as I got out of my car the bus pulled up and the doors opened. Sweet, right on time. I hopped on thinking this day was going swimmingly so far. I took my seat, rested my head on the back of the seat and took a deep breath. That's when I was approached by an older professional man, a fellow commuter. He began screaming at me in front of every single other person on the bus. "Who the hell do you think you are cutting to the front of the line?? Do you think we are all standing in line for our health? How dare you."
I was speechless. My eyes filled with tears. How could I have been so clueless? And why was this man such a dick? I was so focused on getting on that damn bus I never even saw the line. I spent the entire bus ride fighting back tears and showed up to my first day on the job rattled, blotchy and blood shot.
Writing this story, 25 years later, still takes me back to that day and just how awful it was. I felt stupid and humiliated. I made an effort from that day forward to be more aware of my surroundings. But, I still fuck up.
All of that to say, I like to believe that we should give people the benefit of the doubt when we perceive them as rude. Sometimes people just.don't.know.
Are you one of these people? Further, are you one of those people when you run? Here are 7 ways you might be a rude runner and not even realize it. The good news is you can change! You can be better! So can I!
1. You spit or snot rocket without looking. I know how it is. Mucous builds up and you need to eject it from your body. Without stopping, you spit a loogie or execute the perfect snot rocket. Unbeknownst to you, there is someone running beside you and you've hit them with your bodily fluid. Not cool. The lesson? Look before you spew.
2. Your shoe becomes untied or you simply need to stop for a walk break. You do so in the middle of pretty crowded race. Your fellow runners have to stumble and swerve to avoid you. The lesson? Move to the side of the road or path.
3. You are a close farter. Last year I did my first super high altitude race in Leadville, Colorado. What I didn't know at the time was that running at high altitude causes people to expel gas. It's a real thing called alti-tooting or something like that. As we made our way up to 13,000 feet, we were all brought to a slow jog/walk in a single file line.The dude in front of me was letting his farts fly into my personal space without so much as a care in the world. Really? The lesson? Be sure to create ample space between your ass and your fellow runner.
4. You don't wave. This issue has come up a million times in a million different running articles and blogs. Why don't your fellow runners wave at you when you wave at them? Perhaps the non waver is in the zone, is blind, hates you or follows a religion that doesn't believe in waving. The lesson? Be aware of your surroundings. If someone takes the time to wave at you, return the favor.
5. You don't stay where you belong. Corrals/waves at races are there for a reason. It keeps the flow of the race going. While you may be tempted to move ahead and get up with those faster than you, it's going to be frowned upon. The lesson? Know your pace and stay in your place.
6. You carry loose change or other obnoxious things. There is nothing worse for your fellow runners than when you carry noisy things in your pockets. The lesson? Leave your quarters and maracas at home.
7. Your music is obnoxiously loud. Just because you have ear buds in doesn't mean others can't hear your music. Or, if you carry your phone and play it through speaker, we can hear that too. The lesson? Keep your music quiet enough so only you can hear it, or forgo it completely.
The bottom line is, most of us probably don't intend to be rude. But, with a healthy dose of awareness and sensitivity we can rise above.
Any other ways you think runners can be rude?