I do not run for things. Like, physically. This is perhaps the reason why the gym doesn’t work out for me. I would much, much rather be late to something than to hurry myself, to rush across the street on a flashing Don’t Walk sign to catch a fleeting bus or to plow down some station stairs to catch a train sitting with its doors open for an extra second. I think people who run for things look stupid. I hate people who are too eager. I hate people who care about things too much when they’re things I don’t care about.
Yet last Friday morning, I found myself turning the corner onto 42nd Street, seeing the bus waiting at the stop, noticing there was still a long line of people waiting to get on, and actually breaking out in a run. I have no idea why. I was running late, but why would I care about running late? Maybe it’s that I knew I would be getting to the stop just as the bus was pulling away and that everyone on the bus would know I had meant to get on it and that that would be more embarrassing that bothering myself to run for it. I’m irrational like that.
So I took off in the fastest jog I could in a pair of really rubbery flip-flops, and things were going pretty well. I probably could’ve walked just as fast if I really wanted to put in the effort of swinging my arms and rolling my hips and all, so I figured I was still looking fairly nonchalant to anyone who might be judging my eagerness, yet I hopefully looked like I cared enough about making it onto the bus that the driver would take pity and wait on me if everyone else loaded quickly.
But then, halfway down the block, the toe part of one of my flip-flops suddenly somehow doubled under itself and messed up my rhythm, and I had to stop to straighten things out. Just then, this beautiful brown-skinned woman went gliding past me in a summery black dress, her natural hair highlighted with a white faux flower. Her long, slender legs, fitted with soft black ballerina flats, flitted in front of her one at a time like those of a more-graceful gazelle. I somehow expected that she’d stop, that we’d laugh about me trying to run in my stupid shoes, and that we’d walk arm in arm to the bus. Instead, she probably laughed as my shorter, stouter legs, bound in too-tight, too-hot jeans pounded the pavement in comparison, and while she boarded the bus nimbly with a bounce, I hoisted myself up, out of breath and windblown with the entire bus glowering at me for making them wait.
That’ll teach me to try.