…the new friend I just made on my perfect-fall-weather Saturday afternoon run. (and by “friend” I mean “stranger” and by “made” I mean “was forced upon me.”)
To his credit, this was late in my run, when I’m extra sweaty, frizzy and red-faced. Not among my finest moments, no matter how good I look in them runnin’ tights (which, fellas, is good). He must have said to himself, “there’s a girl who’s beautiful on the inside. I’d like to get to know her better.”
So I’m running along and this dude just appears on the sidewalk, from behind a tall wooden fence, which is where all good new friends hang out. He’s this young, African-American kid with two pairs of glasses on (eye glasses plus sunglasses atop his hat, hipster-style). In other words—unlike some of the unsavory characters I spy on the north side—with this kid, I’m not threatened. He just stands there, like he wants something, so I stop. (I know…I know…) Somewhat accustomed to being accosted downtown, I’m almost ready to give my spiel about not carrying cash when I run (or ID or, dear god, a cell phone…) but he doesn’t ask for anything. Just stands there.
So I strike up the conversation (I KNOW! I KNOW!), and it goes a little something like this:
SJ: “Um…can I help you?”
D: “Sup.” (meaning, “what’s up,” of course, not how Bible people say “eat”)
SJ: “Um…I’m just out running.” (Nervous-me gets very literal.)
D: (more silence, but keeps looking at his phone) “You live around here?”
SJ’s brain: HA HAHA HA HA Nice try!
SJ: “Um…I’m a student.” (Lies.) “Okay so do you need something…or…?” (Nervous-me has helpful impulses, but would like to be the hell out of this situation.)
D: (looks at phone again, as if there’s a script in there called How To Creep Out Joggers) “I’s just wondering what your name is and how old you are.” (Nervous Darrell gets literal eventually, too, it seems. Or, possibly, he’s a Census-enthusiast.)
SJ: “My name’s Sarah. What’s yours?” (Manners. Nervous-me is still a lady.)
D: “Darrell. So how old are you?” (Wow. just. persistent. Okay.)
SJ’s brain: LIE! LIE TO HIM! SAY YOU ARE 22 AND SEE IF HE BUYS IT!
SJ: “Twenty-eight.” (Truth.)
D: “Twenty-eight!” (his eyes going cartoon-wide, followed by another pause) “You didn’t seem that–” (aaaand stops himself. Smart man.)
SJ: “…Old? You were going to say old.” (Now I laugh. Because this is getting good.)
D: “Twenty-eight’s not old. It’s just…not…young.” (looks at phone, apparently at his chart called Ages That Are Not Young)
SJ: “Well, it was nice to meet you Darrell. Have a nice day. I’m going to keep running.”
And so I did. (Faster than I would normally, I might add.) And as Bright Eyes sang “Another Travelin’ Song” in my iPod, I couldn’t stop laughing. I can only assume that drivers-by thought I was crazy (or listening to a hilarious podcast, but who besides me would assume that?!), but I don’t care. It was perfect.
So thanks, Darrell; you have no idea how much this old lady needed that.