So feel free devoted readers to skip this if you do not feel the need or desire to hear me get all preachy.
But if you have a strong desire to read about my frustrations….read on.
In life, as on a bike trail, we should cooperate. We should respect one another’s space, opinions, and be considerate of shared space.
If you are driving a car you stay on the right side of the road. Yes, here in America. If you live across the great ocean in a European country feel free to replace “right side of” the road with “left side of” the road. It’s not only common courtesy, it is the law. And damnit it just makes sense. If you are in a vehicle and want to get from point A to point B in one piece you follow the rules of the road. Correct? I am being rhetorical, of course that is correct. In addition to laws of the road there is such a thing as courtesy. Be generous when it comes to how you act and assist others on the road. If you are on a busy road and someone is trying to get out of a driveway or a business don’t block them in when your light turns red, for crying out loud let them out.
Okay I’m getting a little further in to the driving comparison than what I wanted. To move on: if you are on a bike/hiking/running/walking trail use COMMON COURTESY not to MENTION follow the stinking rules.
To be more specific:
Dear Three Teenage Girls on the city’s multi use trail today, get over yourselves! The trail is what, four, maybe five feet wide? I don’t care how trim and cute you think you are. Do not run three abreast and expect everyone in the trail usage world to hop off of the trail and allow you three to run abreast of one another. I know, it sounds kind of snobbish on my part doesn’t it? Well there were two of us, running towards three of you. One of us dropped, appropriately in to single file behind one of us. The three of you continued running abreast towards us. I am pretty certain you were stunned that I did not hop off of the trail and await your gilded presence to plod on by.
I hate to admit this, but I truly had the urge to throw an elbow and tumble the three of you over. Yes, I have that kind of power. I’m awesome like that. Thing is, I’m ashamed of myself for wanting to do that. Just the thought of it afterward made me feel like a horrible person. Because truly I didn’t, and don’t, want to hurt you. I want to teach you. I did mutter very loudly as you ran past in your absorbed in yourselves state “share the trail”. I should have said it directly to you as you approached. Yes, I should have. So that’s my fault.
Perhaps you really don’t know any better.
But, really? You don’t? You appeared old enough to be in high school, maybe even out of high school. You are old enough to have running gear and have a running mission of some kind. Whether it was school related sports or personal goals. You were disciplined enough to be running and I appreciate that.
What I don’t appreciate is your total unawareness of the world around you. My only glimpse of who you are is not a good glimpse.
By comparison I have a few others who I can compare you to. The first was a man about my age, or maybe a little older. He came up from behind. He could easily have passed me quickly. Husband dropped behind me to be in single file because he has the right to pass me and I hugged the trail as far to my right as I could, so he had plenty of room to pass. He didn’t blow past me and as he hung at my elbow for a moment I said hello and we had the briefest but very politest of conversations. He left me with a smile on my face. And I was fine with him passing me. I mean, I was running, not biking, so I didn’t even feel the least bit put out. I know my strengths.
He waited until he was a good twenty feet in front of me before he got back in the lane in front of me. Read in to this: courtesy.
Not far behind you was an older than you couple, running. Again, towards us. Now I have to say, they didn’t drop in to single file approaching us either. Though man of the couple did step in slightly and joked with us about our bright so you won’t miss us attire. A shared joke and pleasantry on the trail. Again, appreciated. And I felt like he didn’t drop back because he was making gestures and talking fifteen feet before approaching us. A shared moment.
Maybe with age will come maturity and common courtesy. But if you are old enough to be out running without adult supervision, you should know better.
Kind of like if you are driving a car without adult supervision, you should know to stay in your lane and respect the other driver.
Not to mention, you don’t know who the other driver is or what they are capable of. You never know when the other driver might be a total idiot with road rage. Or when the other runner is a total idiot and throws an elbow.
Just be careful. And courteous.