Confession: I completely check out runners. Male, female–I’m looking to see who it is, what they’re doing, you name it. I look at every runner I ever see in our neighborhood. And if they’re regular runners, they wind up with a nickname.
Angry Woman: this lady runs like she is stomping out roaches or kicking the stuff out of an old boyfriend. She’s often hurt and limping around inbetween running bouts. I always want to pull over and offer some form tips.
RoboWoman: I can’t really take credit for this nickname; James gave it to her. This woman is a metronome, a machine. She’s usually walking at a brisk pace carrying hand weights.
Huff-Huff Man: this poor guy sounds like a freight train coming or a heart attack waiting to happen. He doesn’t breathe hard; he pants. When the house windows are open, I can hear him coming.
The Fuzz: an elderly gentleman who is abundantly blessed in the chest hair department. Naturally, he frequently runs shirtless.
Lister: this poor guy runs with a definite skew (I think he may have had a stroke, so I feel kind of bad about the nickname, though it is meant to be merely descriptive and not pejorative).
God’s Gift: a little something for the ladies. He frequently runs in jean shorts, gold chain, and no shirt–approximately late 50s.
And then there is Black Shorts. Black Shorts probably thinks I am a weird stalker woman or lonely housewife or just plain crazy person. I avidly watch Black Shorts because, clearly, he is always training for something. And he is out there at a relatively weird time; I usually spot him in my neighborhood in the 3-4:00 p.m. time frame. In Austin, it is freaking HOT at this time. Black Shorts is not a fast runner (I’m probably faster, if that tells you anything) but he is dedicated. He’s a clean-shaven guy, including the head, who always wears longer black shorts. If he wears a shirt, it’s usually sleeveless and black, though most of the time, he is carrying it wadded up in his hand. He’s a bigger guy–I don’t mean fat; he’s very fit. He’s just a solid guy, not a twiggy runner dude.
When I drive by, I always smile and make eye contact. And one time, several years ago, I actually spoke to him. I was looking for something in the pasta aisle at HEB I realized I had company. When I turned to look, I immediately recognized Black Shorts. We stood there, scanning the shelves, and finally I thought, “What the hell?” and turned to say, “I hope you don’t think I’m nuts but I see you running all the time. Are you training for something?” An extremely awkward and very brief conversation about some marathon followed. Um, yeah.
And so now, when I drive by and see him running along and we make eye contact, I wonder what nickname he has for me. Perhaps he thinks, “Crap, there’s crazy Spaghetti again.” lol