Ok, so I've been running in the same general area for a couple of weeks now and I've come to a conclusion: some people are just weird...and like to pick on people that exercise.
I thought I had everything figured out. I'd narrowed it down to a short list of possble reactions people give to seeing me run by. Most of these things apply to people in cars.
1. They pretend I don't exist. This is preferrable.
2. They just stare. This isn't preferrable but it's understandable. If I saw a teenager running by in 40-degree weather in a pair of running shorts, I'd probably stare too.
3. They glare at me: this look usually means that they would very much like to run me over. I try not to take it too personally, but I can't help but feel a little intimidated.
4. They blatantly hoot at you, or vocal other rather inappropriate suggestions. This one is the one that throws me off the most. And by the time it it sinks in and I get mad, they've already left me in a cloud of smog.
I thought I'd mentally prepared myself to disregard whatever comment or gesture was thrown my way. But this week one driver made me question human sanity in a whole new way.
The best phrase I can think of to describe what he did was 'jazz hands'. I was running on the sidewalk next to a moderately busy road when this man, this strange man, slowly drove by. I didn't think anything on him. He was a plain looking middle aged man smoking a plain cigarrett in a plain car. But then he made eye contact with me. I prepared myself for either number 2 or 4 on the list when he stuck his cigarette between his lips, brought both hands to either side of his face, and then BAM. He opened and closed his hands twice before taking the cigarette back out of his mouth and then driving away.
At first I just shrugged it off, but then I got to thinking. What emotion was supposed to go with that gesture? Encouragement? He could have been pantomiming the number 20. But 20 what? Was it a lewd gesture? If it was, I can't begin to imagine what it meant. Was it an angry gesture?
In the grand scheme of things, this little event essentially means nothing. But it sure did distract and confuse me.