Thursday, January 26, 2012

dear darkness

The morning was dark.  There was no moon. It seems to bring out the strange.

Mouse Town was particularly eerie.  Recall that Mouse Town (my personal term of endearment) consists of several acres of undeveloped land that sits in limbo ever since the a booming community of Preble Mice was discovered.  Mouse Town is along one of my favorite running routes and I enjoy the break from civilization.  On these dark mornings, it's almost otherworldy.  No lights, no concrete, no human evidence other than the trampled trails. 

I have seen and heard coyotes in Mouse Town.  I had an interesting encounter with a crazed deer in Mouse Town.  I have yet to meet any of the rodentia. 

This morning I emerged from the darkness and feralness of Mouse Town and was thinking that the remainder of the run would be relatively tame.  I passed by a high school kid walking to school.  He carried a lit-up iPod and was making noises at it (singing?).  A little further on, I stopped to wait at a crosswalk and the kid joined me.  He was about six feet tall and gangly, wearing a backpack over a black leather jacket, jeans, army jungle boots, and a hickish mesh cap. 

Our light turned and I resumed my run across the 6-lane road and soon both heard and felt the jungle boots slapping against the pavement.  The kid was also running now.  He was racing me.  How fun!  At least I hoped he was racing me as opposed to being about to pounce on me and beat me to a pulp just because I'd heard him singing. 

But then, I reasoned, if he was going to pounce and beat me to a pulp, he wouldn't do it in the well-lit intersection of a 6-lane commuter road.  No, he must be racing since, additionally, I was carrying nothing of value for him to mug me for.  Well, I was wearing the awesome tights, but I don't think they're his size.

He surged ahead just as we made it to the curb and continued running full out.  He continued for about a half a block, then slowed to a shuffle.  At that point, I reminded myself that not everybody walking with a backpack early in the morning is necessarily a high school kid.  It was still a bit early for school, but I often encounter kids who have morning clubs and such.  This kid looked more like he had a smoking circle to attend, but who knows.

He moved to the side to allow me to pass and turned towards me.  I smiled and thanked him for the race as I went by.  He was panting heavily and giving me a look that said, "Why would you want to keep running?!"

At that, I decided I liked him.


Anita said...

I was you as I read this. You expressed it very well. I think I would have had those same thoughts.

"Abby" said...

Thanks Anita. I never felt that the kid was any sort of threat, he just didn't have the "vibe". I think he was just a little abnormal - nothing wrong with that! (ahem)

Jenn and Casey said...

Haha. I probably would have been screaming!

terri said...

What a strange experience! Kinda cool that he actually interacted with you instead of just being another person you pass by during the course of another day. Think of how many people we just pass by without even thinking about who they are or where they are headed or what their story is.

I'm very glad that you clarified you never felt unsafe. I'm always a little freaked out when encountering another being in the dark.

ShadowRun300 said...

Well told story, Abby. Very easy to visualize and 'feel' your experience!
I have to admit I would have been a little freaked out if I was in your shoes. My town is so small that I know every car and every walker/runner. One time I had a car I didn't recognize pull up next to me and roll down his window. I was terrified, but looked over at him. Turns out he just wanted directions to a farm. It musta been his first day at work. I prefer running in town when it's dark - more chance of people to help, but I love my country route when the sun is rising.

agg79 said...

That's a strange encounter. I'd pucker up a bit if someone began to run behind/along side of me, especially in jungle boots (haven't done that since the 80's). Glad he was not a wacko, but you gotta watch your six. Lots of crazies out there who would do you harm, even if you were dressed like the unabomber.