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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When in doubt, run.

While walking home from the beach with Mozie yesterday, I decided to take a short cut through an alley. It all seemed harmless until I was half way through the alley and I spotted a very questionable fellow. I suppose he could have just been resting by the trash cans after a long day at his 9-5 job, but I had a sneaky suspicion that there was more to his story than that. It was too late to turn around, so I made the quick decision to take off running like an Olympian. In my own mind, I looked like a super-star sprinter from the back-country of Jamaica or Kenya. (You'll have to look past my whiteness, blond hair, and blue eyes to fully picture this.) I made a conscious effort to appear as if I had just casually picked up my pace, as if to say, "Hello there, we just made eye contact and you are looking a little scary, but me suddenly breaking into a sprint from a leisurely walk has nothing to do with you. This is so natural for me. I always run as-fast-as-I-can through this alley with my dog. Usually I even have someone out here timing my sprint with a stopwatch, but he couldn't make it today."

As I ran toward the man, he squinted and gave me a look that said, "You're scared of me, aren't you? That is why you suddenly began running! Well you're not pulling a fast one on me. I may not look smart next to this trash can, but I've been around the block and it's extremely obvious that you aren't a runner. Not even close. Your form is off, you're heavy on your feet, and you're not even wearing proper running shoes!"
So I shot him a look in response as I jetted by that said, "OK fine! I'll admit it! I'm not a runner. But it was you who made me run. It was you who freaked me out. I didn't want to make it obvious, so please don't take this to heart. You might be a nice guy but odds are that something is a little off about you. I would assume this because you are sitting by trash cans in an alley and you look dirty and intoxicated and you may have a concealed weapon, probably a sling shot or pocket knife, in your possession. Please don't take it personal sir, but you gave me to choice but to run."

I successfully made it past the man, but glanced over my shoulder to make sure that he remained seated and wasn't following me. That's when he gave me a look that seemed to say, "Well I guess I can't take it personal. You're right, I am up to no good. My life is spiraling out of control. Thanks for explaining yourself. I understand why you felt the need to run. Now be on your way, child."
Moral of the story is, don't take shortcuts and avoid alleys at all costs. Also, don't judge a book by it's cover, unless you are in a deserted alley with it; in that case, always go with your first instinct. Oh, and when in doubt, run.