Tonight I want to go for a run. This time last year, I wouldn’t be writing about it, I would already be outside with my dog, on that run I want to be on. Okay, so I’m bad at running and there would be a lot of jogging involved. It would still be late at night, me and my dog, the world ours to explore. Tonight I won’t be going for a run.
There wasn’t some dramatic injury that now keeps me from ever running again. Truth be told, I should be running more than I am right now. Only… my favorite time to run in the summer is at night, when it’s just me. No sharing the world, no compromising or making space for other people.
Around this time last year – probably a bit closer to the end of summer – I was out with my dog for one of my runs. We met a man who came up to talk to us, and I haven’t enjoyed a late night run without another person since then. For the sake of not leaving you all wondering what the hell happened, let me give a little context.
Late night running can’t be before 10 pm. At least, not to my mind. This one happened at almost midnight. My neighborhood is quiet, enough so that I can go on these runs, and even on busier streets I can easily not see another person on foot. Lots of houses, major ‘things don’t happen here’ type of setting. But then with naked bike riders sometimes. We’re weird like that.
Anyway, we stop to ‘let Dakota pee’ (aka I need to re-learn how to breath and she’s happy to sniff), and a man from across the street comes up to me. Now, there’s nothing instantly threatening. He called out before walking over, had friendly body language, etc. To my mind he was just a somewhat nosy neighbor asking if I’d seen someone earlier.
Then I noticed he was holding a giant chef’s knife in one hand. That’s right. It’s midnight, there’s a dude holding a giant knife who just walked up to me, and once he realizes I’ve noticed the knife some attempted explanations begin. I think my favorite was the ‘I saw a lady slashing tires with it, and she threw it in the dumpster, so I picked it up. I don’t know if I should call the police though…’
Some kind of excuse was made (I honestly don’t remember what I said, I was busy trying to look calm and get the fuck away), then I had an extremely fast run home. Complete with decoy stop to make sure I wasn’t being followed.
So now I don’t feel so safe going for runs at night. The police never followed up or told me what happened to the man with the knife (though dispatch told me I wasn’t the first caller), and something I enjoyed was changed.
I don’t actually have any kind of wrap up here. Today has been a jumbled up hell of a time, and the realization of just why I wasn’t finding my sneakers needed to be put somewhere.