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Three miles of stories

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Why I’m glad I started running

It’s the job of a good writer to find humor in everyday things. The best stories are those that cause us to look at the mundane and common from a fresh perspective or perhaps even a slightly warped angle. By laughing at ordinary occurrences and everyday paradoxes in the world around us, we are really laughing at the ordinary and paradoxical elements of ourselves—an action that is strangely liberating.

I was recently reminded of this when I took up running. Go ahead: liberate yourself with a laugh. Irony is funny too. And, those who have know me for more than a few years know how profoundly ironic it is that this once overweight, uncoordinated girl is now jogging down the side of the street, calling herself a runner. I still don’t claim to be coordinated, and I’m no expert when it comes to running; I’m sure that people passing me wonder what in the world I think I’m doing. But that’s okay. I’ll let them wonder. Hopefully, it’ll remind them of something in themselves, and they’ll be able to laugh.

Though it’s likely that nothing brings more comedy to my morning run than the sight of me jogging down the street, I’ve found many other ironic, unusual, and ordinary sights to chuckle at during the 3-miles I cover each day. Running has made me realize just how rarely I actually stop to observe the world around me, and has shown me just how much I am missing out on. I’m not claiming that all my observations are laugh-out-loud funny; it could be that I’m just desperate for something to think about other than the burn or distance I have left, or it could be that the endorphins released while I run alter my thinking. But the best stories are born from real life and on my runs, I’ve captured some interesting snippets of real life. My observations may not be all that funny on their own, but what draws me to them is the potential they hold. In my imagination, these snippets represent eccentric people, awkward interactions, and stories waiting to be told. Maybe someday I’ll be able to introduce you to some of those people, watch you cringe as you read the details of those interactions, and captivate you with the details of the stories. But I’m no famous writer yet. So for now, just for the fun of it, I’m giving you the snippets. Find an element of yourself in them. Laugh at the paradox or the irony. See where your imagination can take them. And if you just think I’m crazy, then laugh at that. The important thing is that we learn to laugh at ourselves and the world we live in.

A dozen of the things I’ve found to laugh at: (okay, it’s a bakers dozen)

  • The elementary school crossing guard who thought I needed her to help me cross the street. “Really miss, there aren’t any cars, and I think I can make it without an orange flag.”
  • A guy skateboarding with a basketball who, when he got closer, actually turned out to be girl. I’ve found that I’m a very poor judge of gender from a distance. The guys who ‘frighten’ me as I approach them usually end up being friendly, smiling girls. I laugh at myself when this happens and think about the irony of stereotypes and perspective.
  • The mother pulling her son in a wagon, who looked down at her child and then asked me if I wanted something to carry with me. “Did you really just ask me to take your two-year-old and run off with him?”
  • A sign in someone’s driveway the day after St. Patrick’s that read: “Parking for Irish grandma’s only: all others will be towed.”
  • The guy who thought it would be a good idea to hang out in the center turn lane and try to get my number from his rolled down window. “Do you really that’s a great way to pick up a girl, really?” I decided that next time this happens I will yell back that he can have my home number; that I’m sure my “husband” would love to get a call from him. Seriously, guys like this don’t know even know if I’m really single. Do they even think about these things?
  • Seeing a population sign that read 2,240 and picturing and family that is new to town writing the number of people in their family over the zero. I see embarrassed teenagers in the back seat of the car.
  • The guy sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car, talking on his cell phone. I can think of many explanations for this and they all have a humorous angle. I thought my mother was the only one who did things like that.
  • Seeing the same Asian man with the same fluffy white dog three days in a row, at completely different times of day. “Really sir, I promise I’m not stocking you. Or, is it you that’s stocking me?”
  • The guy with dreadlocks who undoubtedly thought I was checking him out. I wasn’t, I promise—I had to take a second look because he looked like someone I used to know… He also had a hippie van, which was awesome.
  • The beat-up, patchy truck I pass every day. Now, that thing has a story.
  • Numerous individuals allowing their cars to sit and idle to defrost, rather than simply scraping the ice off with an ice scraper. This is really not funny at all but definitely ironic.
  • The house that smells like rotten eggs every single morning. “Well kids, guess what’s for breakfast today?”
  • The van parked in someone’s driveway, literally full of phonebooks. Neighborhood gossip is made of things like this…

    My challenge to you today is look at the world through different eyes. Find something paradoxical, ironic, or ordinarily absurd.


Written by liferenewed

March 29, 2009 at 12:15 am

Posted in Humor, Life lessons, Running