Wow-has it really been almost a month since I started this thing? Six more days left in June as of this writing. I’m a little off schedule as I had the running recap a week ago. According to the calendar, summer just started. We’ve certainly had a weird weather pattern here in Missouri. Weird (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) is 1. suggestive of or concerned with the supernatural; unearthly; eerie. 2. Of an odd and inexplicable character; strange; fantastic. Eerie describes what inspires fear, uneasiness, or wonder that cannot be explained rationally. I’m sure you as well as myself have watched others and have been well, let’s just say maybe…perplexed? That makes more sense to me as it means puzzled, bewildered, confused- but fearful? I’ll get to that a few paragraphs down.
Now some folks may get all hung up on others’ looks. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures with various attitudes, beliefs, and prejudices that tend to mold us to a degree as to what is “normal” (puke). I don’t think too much shocks me anymore in that arena. What shocks me most is the way human beings treat each other. Take for instance rude (primitive, uncivilized, ill-mannered, crude) behavior. It puzzles me, bewilders me, confuses me, and makes me uneasy. I can handle (mostly) rudeness unleashed on me (although I will NEVER understand it), but when I see it loosed on others I have a tendency to get somewhat irritated. When my fellow nurses work their butts off for 12 hours plus, miss lunch, hold their bladder contents, bend over backwards to take care of patients and then said patients/family members are rude and downright MEAN to them, I get irritated. Yes, we nurses would LOVE to say something back (you should hear the convos at the nursing stations) but we value our jobs more than their stupidity. Yes, we understand that it is often a trying time for people and hospitals freak some people out BUT that is no excuse. In those situations, it is often a one time thing and the perpetrator ends up apologizing. That is the exception. We can make a gazillion phone calls to the physician but we’re not going to be able to make him magically appear, but I digress.
Let’s think of some other examples. How about cutting in line-some people just never learned that kindergarten rule. Here’s a good one-double parking. That’s an easy one to analyze. Those imbeciles just think they (and their vehicle) are more important than anyone else. Just keep the sidewalk chalk handy so you can title their parking space for them…hee, hee, hee. There are all kinds of good ones involving driving and I’m sure you have encountered many of them. One of my all time favorites is when someone asks me how I am (though they really don’t care, it is just a polite platitude) and when I say, “good, how are you” they don’t answer-flipping RUDE. When I was running on the trail one day a couple of boys on bikes came up behind me and one of them said, “let’s run her over.” An adult woman who was with them, whom I’m assuming was the mother, just laughed. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree I guess. They did get “eerily” close, but I refused to go off the trail as I was as far right as I could get ’cause I’m stubborn like that. I may have also hollered something like, “bad upbringing.” Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns.
I have always been for the underdog, the misfit, the castaway (a discarded or rejected person or thing). Maybe that’s why I find it so hard to get rid of stuff and why I feel the need to bring shelter dogs home. I’m the biggest crybaby when watching movies. That scene from “Rainman” when Tom Cruise’s character starts wailing on Dustin Hoffman’s character gets me every time! In my opinion and it is strictly that, I think the biggest population of castaways in society today are the elderly. One might argue that it is the unborn, or the homeless, or the poor. Many of the homeless and poor are the elderly. I will just state here, that when I see rude behavior directed at the elderly, it REALLY gets my dander up! When I see young punks that won’t respect our Veterans and the freedoms that they won for their sorry butts, it pisses me off. I wish I could just blame the younger crowd, but rudeness knows no age limit. I’m not so “out of touch” that I can’t see that there are some rude, crotchety old people out there too. I’ve seen all ages close the door in an elderly person’s face, not give them good customer service, and treat them like second class citizens. Statistics show that the number of people in the U.S. age 65 and over will double by the year 2030. The problem is only going to get worse. What have we become as a culture?
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” -Character Woodrow Call from the movie “Lonesome Dove
I had an epiphany one day when I was cooking (a Kodak moment). When I was much younger, I would always call my mom or grandmother for advice with some culinary plight I was in. I realized with only my mom left on this earth, when she is gone the buck will stop with me. That’s with a lot of things concerning the older population. They have a lot to teach us if we will just listen. When they are gone, all of the knowledge and wisdom will go with them. We will be uneducated paupers for not engaging them while we have the chance. The only fear I have is that loss.
You should know by now that my passion is decrying the stereotypes manufactured by our society concerning aging. Let me tell you about my mother. As a teenager in high school she would get up and go to work for a few hours every day before school, then go back to work afterwards. She also played basketball. When she married my dad, she worked at a Savings & Loan place & eventually went to work for her brother who owned a grocery store. I spent many hours there as a kid She found her niche there and continues to work in the grocery business to this day. She knows that business upside down and in and out. Ask her about customer service! My mother is the hardest working woman I know and she is whom I get my drive and work ethic from. She can work rings around people half her age. How old is she you ask? My mother is 76 years young, or will be July 24. I took her to the Royals game last Friday night and was a little concerned about all the walking due to some health problems she has had in recent years. Well, did she fool me! She is all of 90 pounds soaking wet and as spry as ever. It’s called grit, determination and the refusal to give up or give in to the preconceived notions of what getting older is all about. With some of the breathing issues she has (from years of smoking-quit 2005), she could have retired, gone on disability, thrown in the towel and said to hell with it. My mother is from different stock. Point being, hard work and great customer service is dying off with the older generation. Laziness and entitlement are the buzzwords of the day.
That’s why I love running. You can’t fake it. The lazy want no part of it. No- I do not think that everyone who doesn’t run is lazy. Don’t twist my words. For clarification, anything that requires dedication, hard work, and sacrifice is not generally something the lazy are willing to do. I’ve heard people cry about spectators not getting to have post-race refreshments…really? Maybe they should just get a medal too, lol. After all, they are STANDING there well…spectating! Some slackers may very well get by with that crap in life, but not in running! How sad to go through life without any sense of accomplishment. No wonder people are unhappy.
Well I’m happy. I always have to have a goal to work toward. EVERYONE needs something to look forward to. I’m working on filling up my race calendar for the rest of the year. Fifty-four days until the next marathon. I’m looking forward as much to the time with my oldest son as I am running the race! BQ or not, it will not be a wasted trip. I even (sort of) look forward to the weary “post race” body. After all, I am a little WEIRD (but not eerie) like that, and some would say it cannot be explained rationally!
Until We Meet Again,
No person who is enthusiastic about his work has anything to fear from life. -Samuel Goldwyn