It’s been in the high 90s in the evenings just around sundown, which is lovely weather for a run. (This is what they’re talking about when they say “it’s a dry heat.” This is much more pleasant than the day we were in New York when it was 20 degrees cooler but muggy.)
So I’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather (higher temps and higher humidity are imminent) and taking a run around the neighborhood in the evenings.
The other night, a few things happened that got me to thinking about things.
First, some charming individual in a pickup truck yelled out his window at me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been harassed by a dude while I was running, and I haven’t missed it.
Several times, there were pedestrians oncoming on the sidewalk. Unless I’m on a busy street or a very wide sidewalk, I always move into the street and go around whoever is sharing the sidewalk.
It got me to wondering how many (if any) of the people I’ve moved out of the way for have assigned ulterior motives to the move.
That said, I am less comfortable coming into contact with men while running than women, regardless of race, and that increases substantially when there’s more than one.
I was raised in the thick of the Stranger Danger era and was taught to be fearful walking three blocks home from high school in the dark after rehearsal in my quiet suburban neighborhood, so I sometimes have trouble teasing out whether my discomfort with people simply stems from that or is rational.
On the same run as the pickup truck guy, one of the people I ran off the sidewalk for was a black guy.
I didn’t move because he was black. Or because it was a guy. The sidewalk is narrow; I move for everyone.
I wonder, though, if he assumed it was racially motivated. (Not an unfair assumption, given the current sociopolitical climate.)
Which gets me to wondering how often we make assumptions about others’ motives that are just plain wrong?
But then my brain keeps going to situations where people are unintentionally hurtful and blow it off as unintentional. If you cause hurt, it’s your responsibility to tend to it, regardless your intention.
(They say that running clears the mind, and sometimes it does … but more often, this is what my brain is like on a run.)
I guess my point is: give benefit of the doubt on people’s intentions (when their intention is not explicitly stated–sometimes there’s not much room for interpretation). And don’t shrug off causing hurt as unintentional. And don’t yell at or catcall women on the streets.