For every hobby, ambition, career, or belief system, there will be a person or group that will want to rain negativity on you for it. I recently had a very unpleasant encounter with a man who was determined to intimidate and contradict me in every way possible.
My husband works for a local brewery. I frequent this brewery to spend time with my bodacious spouse and enjoy the fine craft beers. Saturday night I walked in and spotted a seat at the bar. I asked the couple next to the seat if anyone was sitting there. The man replied, “No, but pretty girls can’t sit there.”
I rolled my eyes and suppressed the urge to vomit. After getting my beverage, this man continued to talk to me. I listened politely as he informed me of everything he purchased that day and that he lived in a wealthy community downstate.
He even went on to say, “I’ve made one million dollars in the past five years. Not many people can say that. Can you?”
However, he also mentioned that he had run six marathons, at which point I quickly brightened.
“Oh really!” I exclaimed, “I’ve run seven!” And our dialogue quickly turned to running. However, this didn’t turn out to be a pleasant change in the conversation. He was quick to inquire about my marathon PR, and squealed with glee as he revealed he had been much faster when he was my age. Bravo, guy, your personality could not be less that of a runner.
This man then informed me that he could no longer run at his age (57) and that I should enjoy running while I can. And then, the following conversation ensued:
Me, “What? Lots of people run at 57 and much older!”
Man, “Of course. But those people don’t start running until they are older. No one starts running at 20 and is able to continue doing it for 30+ years.”
Me, “Of course they do! What are you talking about?”
Man, “Absolutely not. I don’t know anyone who can run for more than 30 years. God gives you a season for running, and it isn’t that long. Enjoy it while you can, you won’t live forever.”
Me, “What about Katherine Switzer? And Meb Keflezoghi? Or Bart Yasso? And those are just a few of the famous ones. What about the everyday people who have been running their whole lives?”
Man, “Nope. There’s no way someone can start running at 20 and keep doing it when they’re 60. I’m a perfect example of that. And you probably hate Trump too, don’t you?!”
Whoa whoa whoa. When did this get political?!
At this point, I had to tell this unstable human that we needed to agree to disagree. Clearly this conversation was unpleasant, irrational, and ridiculous. However, he was unable to stop. He kept trying to prove his point, wildly swinging from Pro-Trump statements to informing me that I won’t be able to run much longer.
I don’t want to know what is going on in this man’s personal life to make him so miserable. I don’t want to know why a middle-aged man felt the need to continuously pick at a 30-year-old female sitting alone at a brewery. It is clear that he needed more attention than he received from the people in his life. Obviously this man was so miserable that he sought pleasure in attempting to pick a fight with anyone who would listen to him speak.
But you know what? The world is filled with people like this man. He was annoying and I’m sure I’ll encounter more like him. The point is, I’m not going to live my life any differently because of this stranger’s opinion. This man clearly lacked control over his life and was attempting to control those around him. He was insecure, rude, and unstable.
Sure, it’s very possible that I won’t be able to run at his age due to an accident, injury, or something else. But assuming I won’t be able to run merely because I am 57? Be serious, clown. I’m going to keep running until I can’t. And I’m going to start wearing a “do not disturb” sign at the brewery.