It’s funny how unrelated things can teach us basic lessons in life. When I moved to Sullivan County, I soon found out that my summers would be shared with Hasidics; No, let me rephrase that, I would share their summers.
During the summer months, the stores in Sullivan County change their stocked items to kosher foods. The aisles are carpeted with open packages, half eaten food, or plain empty shelves that portray the craze of the shoppers, and unless you have three hours to shop, you stay away from Walmart; there is just too much pushing and shoving and nothing gets accomplished.
Every Saturday, I’d watch them walk in groups taking over the entire road in their long black coats and their big black hats. The women would follow them in long skirts and stockings that prevent, in the midst of summer, an inch of flesh from getting any fresh air.
How could they be so oblivious? Why would they walk dressed like that in 95 degree weather? I would drive by them chuckling at their audacity and hoping that they saw in my eyes what I thought of them.
Fast forward, I became a runner. I now run in groups taking over the entire road. I run in the midst of heat waves, in pouring rain, and snow covered roads. I participate in and organize races where runners take over parking lots, close roads, and empty store shelves of every bottle of water. And if there is a store with a bathroom, customers will have to wait while we runners use it.
I now realize that people drive by me giving me the same look I used to give Hasidics; “Are you stupid?”, “Get out of the way!” They don’t understand, the same as I didn’t understand that Hasidics love what they do; it’s their religion, it’s their life. They are proud to follow their tradition and deserve my respect.
Just the same, today I enjoy what I do; running is part of my life, it’s my religion and just like Hasidics, I am proud to be outthere, to be a runner even if it means taking over the road in the midst of summer.
2 years ago