Several years ago, I suffered a bout of falls while running. My knees are forever scarred from them, but at least I learned to stop running and texting. (Yes, I would send multiple paragraph emails while loping down a running trail.)
Of course, texting wasn’t the only culprit; I think I also just get distracted while running. With what, I’m not sure. Thinking? Singing? Trying to remember all the things I will text once I’m done running?
I haven’t fallen in some time. And thankfully, I didn’t fall today either. But I did something just as bad: I ran through wet concrete.
Honestly, I’m not sure how this happened. I don’t think I was texting. At least I don’t remember texting. I was just running down the sidewalk. I saw the orange cones. I saw the white sidewalk give way to taupe sidewalk. I figured it was wet, but it certainly wasn’t actual wet concrete – though that doesn’t make me sound any better. I was willing to run through partially wet concrete?
People, I don’t know. I just wanted to get my miles in; I was on the last one.
I also know the picture makes it seem like caution tape was up, and I tore through it like it was a finish line, but that’s a false picture: the tape was already down. Maybe I would have stopped if it had been up.
I would say someone else must’ve run through the caution tape first, but that would imply those footprints in the concrete are both mine and someone else’s.
Unfortunately, they’re just mine.
So there I am, jogging down the block, when I pass through the cones, and maybe mid-lope I realized what I had done – or maybe I realized what I had done once my ankle sunk a good six inches into the ground and concrete poured around my foot.
I probably also made an inarticulate noise because I was just that shocked. What had I done? Like, both what was really going on – my cognition failed to immediately grasp I had run right into a puddle of wet concrete – and what had I done – aka how imbecilic could I be?
Even recounting this story, I see my incompetence. I imagine someone else telling me this story: “I was just running down the sidewalk, and I ran through concrete, and I don’t know, I just did.” And in my imagination, I stare bulge-eyed, exasperated, and fully confident they are a liar.
Me in my imagination: “What do you mean you just ran through concrete when there were cones up?”
Yet, here I write from the other side: I did it. I’m not incompetent. (Maybe I am.) I ran through wet concrete literally without thinking. I could have stepped off the sidewalk. I could have gone around. I could have even stopped and tested the sidewalk to see if it really was wet. I probably thought the cones were fake news after all. But I should have tested it.
Why not leap in?
Well, they say you should always make a first impression, and that’s what I did. I made my mark on that block of Cary Street. Let me know if you see my footprints in the future.
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