Finally it is the summer holiday! For this tired, overworked teacher now is the time to relax, get a few lie ins, have some fun days out and enjoy a well earned break from school. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work but there’s nothing I love more than not being at work. Nothing. You hear of these people who wake up early every morning with a positive, ‘go get ’em’ attitude, seeing every new day as a challenge, an opportunity, and who can’t wait for the day to get started. I’m not one of those people. I do wake up early in the morning but my waking attitude could be described as slightly less positive, in fact it could be more accurately described as negative. I seem to have missed out on acquiring that enthusiastic attitude for early mornings and sometimes I feel I could happily live a challenge free life where I am able to lounge around in bed and spend my days doing whatever I pleased. But sadly, this is not the route my life has followed. So, accepting this sad state of affairs and resigning myself to a life relatively void of luxury and leisure, this past week I have been working on developing my morning persona, attempting to create a more enthusiastic attitude to all things early. This has involved setting my alarm an hour earlier so that I can go out for a run, yes a run, instead of lying in my nice, comfortable, oh so difficult to get out of bed. Surprisingly for me this has in fact become quite a pleasant habit. I admit that on a few days it has been known for me to stand inside the gate that leads on to the street for a few lingering minutes thinking things such as, ‘what AM I doing?’ and ‘whose bright idea was this?’ before I eventually manage to physically force myself out the gate and set off bounding energetically down the road. On returning after completing my 5km I fully expected that I would feel rejuvenated, full of life and ready for the day. This hasn’t quite worked out. Instead most days I feel quite tired and ready for a snooze, but I do feel like I have accomplished something and I feel pretty fit and healthy. However, today was different.
Today I returned home in a completely different state of mind and not a good one. As I first set off I saw just ahead of me a group of 3 young men walking along in the road, dressed just in shorts and trainers like they were preparing to go running too, one in the middle of the road and one on either side so that they filled the whole road. They quickly noticed me running towards them and, I won’t go into details because it was all very vulgar, obscene and misogynistic, and it makes me furious to even think about it, but they started off by saying “are you going off for a little run sweetheart?” and then proceeded to suggest other things that I could be doing to them instead accompanied by illustrative gestures, which to be honest I didn’t need as the words were descriptive enough, and making general idiotic comments as they began to jog along right up close beside me. Then they got a bit ahead, laughing and calling out other suggestive stuff as they went. Not long after that we came to a steep hill and I quickly caught them up and was running alongside them. Out of the corner of my eye I could see them all speed up trying to get ahead again, not wanting to be overtaken, especially by a woman. And so it gave me considerable pleasure to effortlessly (well, initially effortlessly, but eventually it was killing me quite a bit to keep going at such a pace, but there was no way I was going to slow down!) power on past them and continue uphill as they quickly ran out of breath and slowed down, obviously not actual runners. I carried on up the hill leaving them behind, all three clearly pissed off big time at being beaten by a ‘girl’. I finished the rest of my run feeling really angry and annoyed. It’s one thing being bibbed at and having people shout ‘alright darlin’ and that sort of mindless thing, which although annoying and patronising is something that women put up with because it’s usually done in ‘fun’ or, more likely, male stupidity. But this had been something different, really quite threatening and intimidating and it made me furious that they thought they could talk to people like that. If this was a Hollywood film no doubt my overwhelming anger would result in me running a personal best for the 5km, or overcoming some emotional barrier to smash any previous time. Unfortunately this was not the case. I did however have the joy of knowing that I had got one over on those idiots by being fitter than them and running faster than them, and so to finish I will actually quote one of them (I won’t bother adding the accompanying gesture) – “you can suck on that baby”.