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.


Beth (i run like a girl) said...

I absolutely love this story. I don't know that I'd start hitchhiking because of it, but there is so much BAD news in the world, we forget to take a moment to share stories about the kind things that happen every day.

PS - nice work on the 12.4 miles! ;)

ShutUpandRun said...

You are safe, you did it, you had a story to tell. I'm pretty sure you could never find her house again, but if you could, you should pop in on her with scones and coffee. You might get another good story and blog post out of it.