Dear Saratoga Springs,
Hi. Remember me? I know there’s a lot of us runners bopping around town, and you might not recognize me in my awesome new running gear. I used to be the one running in the tattered brown zip-up and the bandanna, but now I’m the one in the florescent yellow-green fleece and the black hat. (Thanks, Mommy-Daddy-and-Aunt-in-Law!) Oh, and I’m the one who smiles a lot. I figure maybe if I smile a lot, my body will believe that I’m having fun and not in pain.
I just wanted to thank you for being such an awesome city to run in. There’s sidewalks everywhere. EVERYWHERE! I can run damn-near anywhere I want damn-near up to the interstate without having to navigate the dangers of the dreaded shoulder. Most everywhere is well lit, and unlike the last five places I’ve lived, I never feel like I’m going to be mugged! And everyone is so good about keeping their sidewalks cleared. Until it all melted in the unseasonably warm weather yesterday, I could run my normal route with at least 80% of the sidewalks completely clear, and 90% clear of standing snow. (Except that fucking quack chiropractor on the corner, who cleared none of the snow from his sidewalk. He’s a dick.) But the point is that I can run as far or short as I want, depending on my mood, without having to worry about the condition or safety of my environment. Which is badass.
I also want to thank you for having such nice motorists. Most of the drivers in Saratoga are super-conscious of me, and will go out of their way to make me feel safe on the road. I rarely have to wait for cars at stop signs, and some drivers will even pull back into their driveways so I can cross in front. I never have people honking at me in anger, I’ve not seen the finger once, and I rarely get the honk and whistle combo. I can bop along contently, listening to my music and daydreaming, without having to spend the whole run fearing death by car or angry asshole. Which is also badass.
But as long as I’ve got your attention, there are a couple issues I’d like to discuss with you. Nothing big, we’re not breaking up or anything, but just some things I’d like us to work on, okay?
To the Saratoga Drivers
Like I said previously, most of you are conscious, thoughtful, wonderfully kind people. But some of you are Grade A asshats. Specifically, those of you who like to wait at stoplights in the crosswalk. Look, let’s talk frankly for a moment. I have no illusions about our relationship. You are much, much larger than I am, and moving much, much faster than I am. If there’s even the slightest question I will always give you the right of way, because there’s no comparing the damage that I will do to your bumper to the damage that your bumper will do to my body. In fact, unless I have a pedestrian walk sign, I will wait for you to wave me across, just so I can make sure you see me. (Side note: when I smile and wave as I cross in front of you, I’m not just being friendly. I’m wave as a way to say, “Hi! See me?! Thanks for not running me over!”) But when I do have a walk sign, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that I not have to run out into the intersection because your fucking Jeep is parked across the crosswalk. Extra points if you actually look up from your fucking cell phone and notice that there is someone crossing the street in front of you at all.
To Saratoga Pedestrians
To the Country Corner Cafe on Church Street
To the homeless guy who sits on the bench outside the shoe store
To the older lady with the bright red hair who smiled at me as she ran by this morning
To the high school boy’s cross country team that I’m pretty sure makes a sport out of passing me