We are creatures of habit. We develop a pattern and almost never stray from it. I confess this much is true of me, too. Everyday I drive to work along a “back road” to avoid highway commuters. I prefer winding through stoplighted streets instead of messing with less compliant mergers along three lanes of speeding mayhem. No one wants to drive along side me when I haven’t had my second cup of coffee. Let’s be honest here. I’m not awake yet.
So, every single day I drive the same route to work and every single day I see a solitary runner. It’s to the point I now look for him. I’m actually disappointed if I don’t catch a glimpse. He is, after all, my Mr. Man of Hope. He’s not your average runner. Did I mention I see him every single day? I do. He runs everyday. He stands out. He’s not one you can easily ignore. He’s a vision to behold.
Dressed in red (everyday). In the summer, red shorts just to his knobby knees, red tee shirt over his bony torso, red ball cap on his balding head. In the winter gray saggy sweatpants, gray saggy sweatshirt, a watchman’s wool cap. Everyday huge glasses that turns his eyes owlish. He shuffles more than what you would consider “running.” You could walk faster than his stride. The first time I saw him I nearly ran him over. Five feet from the curb (and nowhere near the sidewalk), he came inching from my blind spot. Luckily his snail’s pace saved us from meeting under unfortunate circumstances. The near miss didn’t phase him. He ran on without barely a blink.
I know nothing about this man but one thing. I can only guess at his distance, how many miles he runs. I’ve seen him on the same stretch of five miles only in different places on the same route. Day depending. Tuesday he could be crossing in front of the library. Friday he might be shuffling along the bridge. Who knows where he is on the weekends.
This is what I know. He is there, rain or shine, whenever I drive to work. He is as consistent as a sunrise. His dedication to the run is admirable. It gives me hope.