I jog for an hour every night at 9pm on the dot. I've been doing this for the past decade. Unfortunately, I have been stuck in Florida for the past decade... so yeah, suck. Major suck. I hate Florida. It's hot, muggy, buggy, rainy, full of TERRIBLE drivers, and it's also the lightning capital of the country. But I *rrreeeaaalllyyy* hate exercising indoors (probably because I am stuck indoors all day long, usually) so I suck it up and jog outside.
Last night, I couldn't go out at 9 on the dot like I usually do because it was raining pretty hardcore so I went out at 10 instead and to my great fortune, it was not raining! Yay. As I headed towards the "thank god, no cars, no people, no dogs" section of my jogging route, I came upon a woman talking to an old guy in a car parked in the middle of the !@#$%^&*ING ROAD with dogs EVERYWHERE. She had two dogs on a leash and he had TEN MILLION dogs in the backseat of his car.
I mmmmaayyyy have a not-so-slight deeply ingrained avoidance complex stemming from decades of harassment and bullying that began from the age of seven and followed me all the way up until I graduated college. So… yeah. If I can avoid people, I *very* much prefer to avoid people. I slooowwwwed wwwaaaayyyy down. Then I stopped. Then I knelt and pretended to tie my shoe. Then I pretended to tie my other shoe. Then I readjusted my hair tie as sloooowwwlllyyy as I could. Then I mulled over the option of turning around and exercising indoors. Then I considered cutting through the swampy tick, gnat, flea, mosquito, and alligator infested greenbelt to go around them... ANYTHING but having to get within ten feet of PEEEOOOPLLE. Highly abnormal, I know.
Well, they noticed my antics and started glancing over at me with worried expressions. 'Welp, the jig is up,' I thought. 'Might as well do ~that thing~ I spend 3/4s of my life trying to avoid.... interacting... with...... ppppeeeeeoooppple!' THE HORROR! So I started jogging towards them. For a very short chubster with a bad left knee, I can go pretty fast, especially when propelled by avoidance complex. AVOIDANCE COMPLEX POWERS ACTIVATE! SSSHHHOOOOOM! *sideways mushroom cloud*
I figured I could just zip on by, get it over with, ya know, like ripping off a Band aid. So I ran my big ass past them until they were out of eyesight which is the way I prefer other people to be. I'm fine with you, as long as I can't see you. If I can see you, YOU ARE IN MY PERSONAL SPACE. GET OUT BEFORE I BITE YOU. Unless I like you. Then you can stay and I won't bite you.... generally.
Just as I was making it to the free zone where no one treads but me, that car went whizzing past and the old guy gave me this look like I was an escaped mental patient shambling around in my underwear clutching a bloody axe. 'Ah well,' I thought, jogging along, 'I'll probably never see any of these ~peeeeeople~ again anyway. So, no matter.' That was what I thought… UNTILLLLL…..!
OF COURSE that !@#$%^&*ING WOMAN would walk her !@#$%^&*ING DOGS onto MY JOGGING ROUTE. YOU BITCH! HOW DARE YOU! This is MY TERRITORY! GET OUT or I am going to BITE YOU AANNDDD your STUPID LITTLE DOGS! I smiled politely and said "good evening." She will never know that behind my polite smile was seething anger and a sincere desire to launch her into a crater on Mars.
That was when she did THE UNTHINKABLE. *le gasp* "Excuse me, miss?"
NNNOOOO!!!! WHYYYYY!!!!???? WHY GOD, WHY!!??!?!? I HATE YOU!
"Can I ask you a question?"
So I took off my headphones, backpedaled a little, paused my MP3 player and waited for ~The Question~ .
"Sometimes I see you jogging out here and…" (at which point I'm thinking 'DAMN IT! I'VE BEEN SPOTTED! NOW I HAVE TO FIND A NEW JOGGING ROUTE! YOU BITCH! I HATE YOU. I HATE YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY. I HATE EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR! FFFAACCCKKK!!!') "I notice that sometimes you stop and kinda do this thing…." She started pulling at herself and shaking her hands out. "If you don't mind my asking… what… is that? Is that some kind of a…?" She sounded really timid, apologetic almost, and very nervous, as if I might be dangerous. I think her dogs were picking up on it because both of them were staring at me like 'go ahead, bitch, make a move, I dare you.' I'm guessing the word she left out was "disorder" but who knows. The word could have been "tick" "condition" or "dance routine" for all I know.
I snort-giggled and said; "oh, no. I'm just trying to get rid of the invisible spider webs." It took me about three seconds of awkward silence to realize how utterly insane that sounded.
"Invisible… spider webs?"
"I mean.. uh… well, heh-heh…. (Aaaaaawwwwkkkwwwaaarrrdddd) I guess they're not really ~invisible~ but they're really hard to see. They float around through the air, especially at night, and especially after it rains. Haven't you ever felt like… a little string come across your face or get stuck on your arm?"
She stood there for a moment *staring* at me like I just shat on everything she ever loved and held dear. "I thought that was just hair?" She laughed nervously and started pulling at her hair.
I shook my head. "Nope. Afraid not. It's spiders. One of the many reasons I hate Florida. One time, I got hit right in the head with a big ol' clump of spider web. It was awful. All over my face and hair. I ran home, jumped in the shower, and seriously contemplated shelling out for a treadmill."
Her face went slack with shock as if I had just slapped her. "Are you sure it's.... that? I mean…" she started looking around like she expected a giant spider to leap out of the bushes onto her head. "Could it be something else? Like… plant…. Stuff... maybe?" She had this look on her face like 'please, dear god, let it be plant stuff.'
"Believe me, I wish it was. I'm not thrilled with the idea that there might be spiders crawling all over me."
WELP! That did it. She heel-spun exactly 180 degrees as rocket boosters emerged from her butt cheeks, fired up, and propelled her into the night sky shouting "NOPE, NOPE, AND AWAY!"
'Yaye! She's gone!' I thought. 'Now I can get back to my !@#$%^&*ING JOG!' I put my headphones on and ran along, not really thinking much about what had just happened aside from a brief internal argument over which I hate more; neighbors or spiders. My route is basically a big L that I run back and forth on. One part of the L brings me close to the backs of some houses. Sometimes I can see people inside but they aren't close enough to aggravate my avoidance complex, not unless they're swimming in their pools with all their lanai lights on, which, thankfully, they don't do all that often.
As I was jogging past that section a few minutes later, I heard; "SPIDERS, DAVID! FLOATING SPIDERS! I AM NEVER GOING OUTSIDE AGAIN." Mind you, I heard this *over the DUBSTEP I was listening to.* I stood there for a moment, waiting for more but that was it. I think I just ruined this poor woman's entire existence. Whoops? Sorry. On the upside, I know at least one neighbor who won't be invading my jogging route anymore.