Yesterday, with the sun warming my face and last night’s ice cream still cool in my belly, I decided to take my running sneakers out of hibernation and hit the streets for my first run of the new year. Although I exercise regularly, I only run outside in fair weather. With the temperature nearing 50 degrees, my brain was itching for the fresh air instead of the stale gym odors that I had been inhaling all winter.
So I layered up and set out; one foot in front of the other, trip trapping down my street. It had been while, but it felt good. I missed going on autopilot through my neighborhood, while losing myself in my head. What would I think about today? I wondered and considered my options.
Should I wallow over my father’s declining state? That could get me through miles.
Or, should I think of snappy comebacks to the friend who recently said, “Wow, it’s so great that you can just go out without doing anything to yourself. I could never do that.”
Oh, I got it! How bout…. “You’re right. You totally look better with makeup.”
Wait! No! Better… “Thanks. It’s true. You really need self-confidence to pull it off.”
Hmm.. I’ll get back to that.
There’s always the to-do list. First shower, then supermarket, dry cleaners, stop for Dunkin Donut’s coffee, pick up kid…
Wow, figuring out what I’m going to think about has gotten me through over a mile. Yay. I should probably think about what to wear to tomorrow night’s School Social. Certainly not pants like the lady who just walked past me. Really? Flesh colored leggings? I don’t know anyone who can pull that off. I almost want to follow her and let her know that unless she’s auditioning for ‘What Not To Wear’, they should never be worn again.
In my college sweatshirt, skull cap, striped gloves and yoga pants that make my thighs look too heavy, I have no business criticizing anyone, yet I have to fight the urge to share my feelings.
Maybe it’s genetic. It would be something my grandma would have done. I can still remember her walking over to poor, unsuspecting strangers and saying things like, “Honey, no one’s going to tell you, but that lipstick color looks horrible on you.”
I always died a little, totally mortified, but now, decades later, it doesn’t seem like the worst idea. I mean, yeah, it can be seen as judgmental, but maybe it’s just being helpful. Maybe, sometimes we all need someone like that; a ‘truth teller’ in the form of a well-meaning stranger.
I mean who else would tell you these things? Certainly not your friends. No way will your friends tell you how fat you look in your jeans, or that –
Wow! The lady I just passed must be bathing in perfume.
What was I thinking? I might have blacked out there a moment. Oh, right, friends. They love you and don’t want to hurt your feelings. They can’t be completely honest.
I don’t know if the sweat has seeped into my brain, but I think this is a kick ass idea. I can open a school and train people on proper approach, having good ‘street-side’ manner, and of course, how to diffuse an offended person’s wrath. My people will be like secret agents. Employers will hire us to do an office walk-thru. Friends will hire us to say things they can’t say. It’s a public service. It’s genius!
I can’t believe it. I’m almost home. That was fantastic.
Wait, I just came up with the best comeback to my friend’s comment. Ready?
“You’re right. But you know, saying things like that is the reason a lot of people don’t like you.”
Brutal Honesty. My grandma would have loved it. But would people actually appreciate the truth whispered to them by an unknown judge?
I don’t know, but i’ll have to think about it next time. I’ve just run out of steam.