Sunday, October 9, 2011

I got in the car with a stranger

I just read Room by Emma Donoghue and should’ve known better.  Your mother, your teacher and your priest warned you:  Never get into the car with a stranger.   Whether they claim to have sick pet, or a trunk load of M &M’s.  There’s never a good enough reason.  I know that but I was beyond reason yesterday.  8.5 miles into a 9 mile run that turned out to be more than 12 – I WAS LOST AND NEEDED HELP – FROM A STRANGER.

I was at a softball tournament and needed to get a 9-mile run in for my half marathon training.  I wanted to do ten because that’s just me.  During a break between games I laced up.  I did not know the area at all but I had my Garmin and my GU and my GPA so I was all set.  I don’t run with my cell phone because I hate the drag across my belly.  I was cruising along through neighborhoods with trails and ended up  running around this lake:

Pretty nice.  I had the feeling:  “This is why I run.”  Total self-sufficiency.  Almost.  At this sailing club I was at 5 miles and decided to turn around and head back to the field.  (Remember the GPA?  5+5=10, brilliant)  Around mile 8.3 nothing looked familiar and I worried I’d get killed on a busy curvy road where drivers have NO RESPECT for runners.  I had little mental acuity left and began traipsing through a stranger’s yard.  I was birthed into a unrecognized cul de sac.  I started to panic but encountered a 70+ lady retrieving her mail.

This is not her but it’s close.  Difference:  My stranger didn’t have many upper, front teeth.

Me:  “Please excuse me, I don’t mean to startle you, (event though all I am wearing is a sports bra, shorts, and a Garmin) but I don’t live around here and I think I am lost.  Could you tell me how to get back out to Genito Road.”

Stranger:  “Oh Lord child, you are so out of your way I couldn’t begin to tell you.  Where are you trying to get to?”  (Dangling participle, not my GPA)

Me:  (without any acuity and a slight panic attack starting)  “Goodness, I don’t know how I got so turned around, my daughter’s tournament is at Warbro Sports Complex.”

Stranger:  Let me go get my car, I’ll drive you.

This is what oozed out of her three-car garage:

For the missing teeth, she spat as she spoke but offered me ice water and regaled me with stories about her artificial knees.  We found our way to a church parking lot where I knew I could find my way back to the field from.  (Dangling participle, no more GPA left.)

I made it.  12.4 miles – on my legs - later (over achiever).  A little zoned out, I really wanted a beer to calm me down.  This stranger was an angel.  A sweet nice old lady without free candy or ulterior motives.  Just kindness for me.  I’ll take it.  Then I got to see her:


My stranger (angel) in a car was the ticket.  Would you get into a car with a stranger?  This time, thank God I did.