Drivel that cannot fit in a single panel comic.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The joys of running

Runner's World often has articles about the joys of running. Great scenery, learning the layout of the neighborhood, getting to know neighbors, good health, less stress and many other benefits. Every issue of Runner's World features a photo of a "Rave Run", a place of majestic scenery. For some reason most of these photos are from the Pacific Northwest. John Bingham has a column in which he writes about runners knowing where to find streets, familiar faces and the little adventures one experiences while out on the road.

I experienced a little adventure while running today but I doubt it would qualify for Runner's World. As I was running down a street, a woman sitting in a chair under a carport called out to me and asked if I had a cell phone. She wanted to call her son whose car had broken down in Brenham and she wanted to check on his progress. The son found a flywheel for the car and was in the process of fixing it. So I paused my tracker on my cell phone and dialed the number. She left a message and told him that she was using the phone of woman who was jogging by. After that, she told me the back story. Oh boy.

[content about race (not the running kind) ahead]
She and her son had a disagreement regarding his girlfriend. The girlfriend is going to have a baby that is the wrong color. The woman was not going to allow the girlfriend to stay in her house. This angered both sons and her husband. They all left with the vehicles and all the meat except for the sausage which the lady does not care for. She was not giving up the house that a man had fixed up real nice for them. She ranted a bit about the poor treatment she had received despite the financial help she had given them and other acts of kindness. She mentioned a neighbor willing to intervene if they did not start treating her right, her sister in Louisiana dying of kidney failure and attempting to hitchhike to the doctor. The lady has a very visible disability - it was the prime reason that I did not mind approaching and allowing her to use my cell phone, I did not perceive her as a threat. Anyway, the lady mentioned that she has not seen me jogging down this street before and asked if it was my first time. I told her I think it was my second time. She told me about a group of Mexican ladies that walk/ jog several laps and that if she had good legs she would do the same thing. She hoped they will come back because she needed to go to the doctor this week. I hope the neighbor she referred to will help. Ten minutes later she finished her story and I was back on my way.

I made it home and related my adventure to Walter. We both reflected on the weirdness. White people assuming other white people have the same views (this happens in any group - church, social, racial, economic, work). The other people in the lady's life surprised by her views. Focusing on the color of the baby as a reason for the disagreement as opposed to other legitimate reasons such as her son not being the father or adultery. I wondered if I would have missed out on this adventure if I had been a different color. Then I thought of the real irony behind prejudice: she and others who I've met like her cannot afford to live in a neighborhood that does not have a lot of the people that they dislike in it. Odder still, she and others like her would not consider themselves racist. The KKK are racists, skinheads are racists, Neo-Nazis are racists, not them.

I will drive by the lady's house later and see if anyone made it back. Part of me wants to help and a larger part of me does not want to get sucked into this wreck. I understand why the others in the Bible story walked on - they could have gotten hurt. I will add her to my meditation. I know it is the wimpy way but I'm not Christ nor the good Samaritan.

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