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.