Every now and then on my way to or from work, I see a very interesting individual. On a gigantic hill that is about 2 1/2 miles from my house, there is a woman who runs along the side of the road.
I know that this is not unusual. People are running all over the place, getting in shape for no good reason. The unusual part is the runner herself.
She is always dressed in corporate attire while she is running. Corporate attire from the late 1970's to be exact. I have seen her running in blouses, skirts, slacks, and even pantyhose. Sometimes she has a raincoat on. Sometimes she is carrying a shoulder bag or an umbrella. And she is always wearing dress shoes.
I'm pretty sure that she isn't running away from anything. And she probably isn't constantly late for the bus, since I have seen her going in different directions and on opposite sides of the street. So I guess that she must be running for exercise.
And make no mistake, she is running. Full speed. And she zigs and zags onto and off of the road itself. I don't know if she is working on her dexterity or what, but she crosses the white line on the side of the street like she is doing a pavement slalom.
She startled me the first few times that I saw her. That particular road isn't the safest place to burn some calories, and the grade of the hill would challenge many a professional athlete. I was just trying not to hit her with my car. But it became interesting after a while, seeing this skinny woman with Coke bottle glasses darting in and out of the three feet of berm that exists on the side of the road. All while being dressed up for a meeting with the client.
At some point I started shouting "crazy running lady! woooo!" when I would see her. It was like tapping the windshield when you go through a yellow light - I did it for luck every time she appeared.
Why "crazy running lady"? Well, she's crazy. I wouldn't go anywhere near that road as a pedestrian, let alone wearing a button-down shirt and wingtips. And she runs. And she's a lady.
Not the most inventive title, I know, but it pretty much sums up the character.
At one point on the way home, I saw a couple of police cars and an ambulance parked halfway up the hill. I thought that it might be crazy running lady. Maybe she zigged when she should have zagged. But it wasn't her. It was some kid that looked like he fell off his skateboard. (For the record, he was not wearing dress clothes).
A few weeks ago, I was driving through my neighborhood and I spotted someone running along the side of the road. I really didn't think anything of it, until this person made an abrupt step onto the street in front of my car. It was crazy running lady! She had run for miles and made a right turn to get there. And she was wearing a matching track suit and running shoes. What the heck was going on?
I didn't even have time to yell her name for luck. I wasn't ready for her to be there, so far away from her normal stomping grounds.
Had she heard me exclaim "crazy running lady" at some point even though my windows were up? And did she follow me home one day to argue about her sanity and/or riddle the Corsica with dents from her umbrella? I never thought to look in the rear view mirror after I would pass her on the hill - maybe she can run really, really fast.
As it turns out, nothing happened. She just kept on running.
I never found out what she was doing in my neighborhood that day. In fact, I haven't seen her at all since then. Maybe she found nirvana in her outfit that was made especially for running and she just kept on going.
If so, she's probably in South Carolina by now.
Go, crazy running lady, go.