Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why do they hate me, Pat? I am not a crook...

It's official, my neighborhood hates runners, and they're on facebook...

Now, for the record, I can be on board a bit with the annoyance with the CRIM training groups.  I've expressed my disdain for them in several blogs in the past, and it usually comes down to these points:

1)  Large organized groups, in general, kind of annoy me
2)  They expect all traffic to go around them and refuse to even slightly get over for cars
3)  There are groups of walkers that take "breaks" by walking even slower, and some of these people are thinner and younger than I'll ever be, especially considering I'm not going to ever get younger (but if I could, I'll take my 23 year old body...thanks).
4)  Most of the groups are more social club than training guild
5)  They think I'm the weirdo for going alone (or just with one other), and yell at me to join them..."Sha! if"

Outside of that, I love seeing people out running, biking, rollerblading, etc. in my neighborhood.  I think it's a sign of a vibrant area that actually resembles a "real city;" something we fail to look like most of the time.  There are even times, when they're behaving themselves, that I even love the CRIM trainer people (when they're actually running, not in my way, and only talking to me to say "hello").  Apparently I'm in the minority, though.  There's been a recent barrage of comments in our neighborhood's facebook group about there being a "runner nuisance."

Now mind you, most of the people are real-world personifications of Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched.  They are constantly paranoid of anything out of the norm, and must constantly look out their windows in fear.  In fact their fear and attitude is so bad, it almost makes me, a lifetime goody-two-shoes with no criminal record, fantasize about kicking their door in during the middle of the night and running off.  I think the attitude they have toward people of the other neighborhoods and visitors actually fosters more resentment and problems than their actions solve.
It seems like any time they see someone walking in the neighborhood, or driving through with a car that is old and/or dirty, they believe that person is "casing the neighborhood."  There is a constant posting of photos of people walking/running by their houses to the neighborhood group page listed as suspicious activity.  Maybe sometimes it's warranted, but most often it's not, and I'm not even sure about all the legalities of posting people's photos without their knowledge.  It seems you can't so much as turn your head toward one of the neighborhood houses without becoming some sort of suspect, even if you think their rose garden is impeccable.

Anyway, because of all this, the new suggestion is to pave a path around one of our parks for people to walk, run, and bike on to "keep them out of the the streets."  Apparently posting anything against this idea makes me a negative villiage idiot in their eyes, but I'm looking for a trial with a jury of my peers, so any of my fellow runners that read this, I'd love to hear from you.  I can't trust the neighborhood people, because when they see a stray shopping cart in the area, they pull out their "Jump to Conclusions" mat and figure it must have been used in some sort of robbery.

"You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor...
and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO. "

One of the problems I see with paving this and making a path is that it's only 1 1/2 freaking miles.  No self-respecting biker is ever going to use this, unless they're a goldfish that has fallen into green ooze and is a new side character in TMNT named Aquarius, and he'll need a really big camel pack.  As a runner, I can't even see using it for anything but random speed work, and we already have a track in our neighborhood.  You won't see anything but a tree line, flat grass that used to be a golf course, and part of a road...over and over.  It would bore me to tears.  Maybe if they open the par 3 golf course again, it will be a good way for ladies to keep an eye on their husbands and ruin their golf time (which, I'll let you in on a little secret, is really about tall beers and cigars).

The other thing is, we already have over 12 miles of paved, traffic free trails around here.  If you're willing to be a bit adventurous and actually go on a road, there's more.  I run and bike these trails.  I don't feel unsafe, and there are men, women, and children visible on most of them.  They run by the river, the farmer's market, man made waterfalls, and all sorts of landmarks and statues that, before I lived here, didn't know existed.   There is also a rare General Motors EV1 electric car sitting in one of the buildings just off the trail.  Running here, it's awesome.  I love it, and I will use your neighborhood streets to get to and from them whenever I please.

There's some overlap, but you get the point.  That's not even all of it.
I know maybe some of these things aren't perfect for everyone, but it's a lot better than what is being suggested now.  If anything, we should be throwing more money behind the county people trying to interconnect our city trails to the surrounding towns.  I know my biking has been abysmally non-existent, but if these trails were completed, I really would get out more.  There's even a group that gets together to bike these trails on Sundays.

I'm sorry I'm shooting down an idea for a glorified Dachshund racing track, but I don't think I'm the one being negative. I know what the city has to offer, and instead of cowering in my home and resenting people for running in fear they may be casing my house. Share the road, everyone, and watch for pedestrians in a neighborhood. I know you probably must drive like the old lady from "Moving Violations," but I'm pretty sure we're not a problem and I've never seen a runner laying dead in the road, despite how many times you people seem to have tried to tag me. I'm sorry I may scare you when I come out of nowhere and you're staring off into space, standing still, talking to the voices in your head, or whatever that is you're doing, but I'm not going away. There are other runners in this neighborhood that aren't going away either. In fact, I swear we're multiplying. I even have two copycat fat guys that have followed my lead. I hope a few more people from this area find this blog and start running around here too, if only to piss of some silly ol' biddies.

I've even seen recent comments about wanting to ban all the runs in the neighborhood because 5K kept someone from getting home. I know it sucks, but sometimes you have to wait for things. I don't see you threatening to rip up the railroad tracks because you were stopped by a train. In case you didn't know, in real cities these inconveniences happen all the time. Roads get blocked for every reason under the sun, because things are happening. Real cities also have a TON of runners. I know you live in Flint, and you're not used to this, but these are actually good things. If you really want a successful city, this is what would come with it.

I'm even wondering if I should add to the mayhem and make my own 5K in my neighborhood. We could call it the "Case the Neighborhood 5K." It will go along the streets of the most bitchy, paranoid people in the neighborhood, making sure to block their driveway. There would be periodic, mandatory stops where you must stare directly at a specified neighborhood home until you see the person looking back through the window. The participants will dress as shady looking as possible with: ski masks, hoodies, prison jumpsuits, ripped/dirty clothes, old Charlotte Hornets Starter Jackets, backpacks full of simulated scrap metal (pvc wrapped with Reynolds wrap), shirts that say "I love shopping carts," skateboards, cardigans, death metal t-shirts, etc. It will be sponsored by White Castle with age group winners for time, costumes, and staring getting complimentary crave cases (get it..."Case" the Neighborhood...).

Your move, Chateau la Blanc...


  1. that is crazy...and people wonder why there is an obesity epidemic!

  2. Yeah, between things like this and parents being too afraid to let their kids play outside, and/or too lazy to join/watch them, it's not to hard to imagine how it got like this. I remember moving into an apartment complex, and checking out the reviews before living there, and one of the reviewers had as one of their CONS "Children Playing." No elaboration beyond that. You gotta wonder what kind of sad individual is that resentful of kids being what they're supposed to be.

    I know I'm not the prime example of how exercise is essential in ending obesity, but it's definitely a factor. Even I'm better off weight-wise than before with the running and what not.

  3. You get that "Case The Neighborhood 5K" going and I'll DRIVE all the way there from California to participate! Just for chitz'n'giggles, man.

    My neighbors aren't that bad, luckily. Where I live, it's already full of shady people. It's Salinas.

  4. We'll totally drive over for that 5k. Just saying.

  5. hahaha. they post photos of people run/walking by as suspicious?!? these people are crazy.

    the 5k idea sounds awesome. i especially love the sketchy outfit requirements and periodic stop-n-stare stations.


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