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The Weirdness of Strangers

8 February 2011
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This morning I ran 5 miles around Crouch End, starting out at 6.30am in the dark, as usual. I wasn’t really paying that much attention to my surroundings, and was just sleepily chugging along listening to a fairly dull podcast when I realised I could hear breathing. It took me a few steps to work out that it wasn’t my own.

I started and turned my head around quickly, to see a tall man running up close behind me, less than 2 metres away. He spoke and I pulled out a headphone from my ear, not hearing him. He was indignant “there’s no need to be scared”, he said.  “I didn’t hear you”, I said, trying to explain my surprise, and expected him to run ahead past me. He didn’t. He kept right there, just behind my left elbow. His pace was the same as mine. There were roadworks on the other path of the quiet street, so neither of us could cross the road. A few moments later he said, “Don’t worry, I’m your guardian angel”. I looked across at him and wondered about whether I should try to remember what he was wearing for any future police statement. Then I crossed the road. Then he crossed the road. Then I turned right. Then he turned right. I slowed down and let him go past. When he had, I stopped and tied my already tied shoelace. He carried on up the hill.

Why did he say that? Did he want me to feel less scared, or more scared?

One Comment leave one →
  1. 9 August 2011 5:06 pm

    “Don’t worry, I’m your guardian angel” – Wow.. You know, I think that sounds like one of the most terrifying comments he could have made – regardless of intentions.

    It makes me feel better about my decision the other day to alter my running so as to NOT freak someone out. Thank you for the other perspective. And I’m glad it just turned out o be a freaky situation for you – with no bad outcome.

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