They’re out. The sun is shining, and the runners are running. What were they doing, all these long dreary freezing winter months? Running round their apartments?
OK, this isn’t a virulent spew of hate against runners, of the sort that crops up in murkier spots on the internet every so often. Though it is surprising how much hatred runners attract- perhaps it is something about their holier-than-thou sporty clothes and expensive trainers as they pound along the pavement, their eyes glassy and transfixed, the thin earbud wires dangling round their heads, the bare legs and knees (it is still not warm enough for the non-runners to emerge from hibernation without covering every inch of skin).
They wait at the lights, bent over and panting, and when the little green man flashes, straighten up and begin running across. Why does that seem ridiculous? Why am I so grateful it is not me running down the sidewalks without having to be anywhere, drenched in sweat, with aching knee joints? Why do they inflict this pain on themselves, so publicly? What’s wrong with yoga and aerobics?
Homesickness has made me bitter. Last year, I would delight in the spectacle of the runners, their freedom, their enjoyment of the beautiful Halifax outdoors. I would think how wonderful my daughter is growing up in a city where she can run about in short shorts and feel the wind blow through her hair. This year, I am thinking like a crusty old Haligonian with a beer belly, irritated because I got my next Tim Hortons too late, annoyed by the sight of all the runners running on the sidewalks. Truly I have arrived.