By Jon Laye
I am the Invisible Man
“Now I’m on your track,
And I’m in your mind,
And I’m on your back,
But don’t look behind…..
I am the Invisible Man,
I am the Invisible Man,
Incredible how you can,
See right through me”
START of RANT: I think I must be becoming invisible. Yesterday morning to get to work, I slowly jogged down the Otley Road, all the way from Adel to Hyde Park and no less than FOUR people walked straight into me. Granted on the first 2 occasions I was running up behind people and then as I was about to pass them they unexpectedly stepped right into my passage. Presumably they just didn’t hear me and so on the spur of the moment they decided to take an impromptu ‘step to the right’ which resulted in my winging one of them and leaping into the road to avoid the second. Generally speaking I do give people a wide berth whilst approaching them from behind but this can be difficult when they are walking right in the centre of a narrow-ish pavement. But in 2 separate incidents later that morning the people I ran into were heading directly towards me, looking in my direction and just didn’t see me, so that when I swerved they both ploughed on and we kind of met in the middle (with a splat). I did try to take avoiding action in both cases and call out to them, but both times resulted in a shock on their part and bloody annoyance on my mine. Am I really invisible? The common feature of all these collisions was massive headphones being worn by the pedestrians who all seemed utterly oblivious of everything around them. But short of running around with a very loud klaxon to warn other pedestrians I really can’t see any option other than running on the road/in the gutter when trying to travel along pavements these days.
My problems are not limited to headphone-wearing people sleep-walking through the streets. Three weeks ago I was physically tripped over by a couple of dogs (on a double dog lead) who decided to run from one side of the pavement where they were walking with their owner, across to the roadside just as I passed them. The dog lead to the owner went taught as I hit it, I tripped over the lead and then stood on one of the dogs as I fell because it was dragged underneath me. The dog owner was worried about her slightly flattened dog, not by my injuries. When it was clear that ‘Sybil’ was not seriously injured she thought it was all very funny and laughed, “What on earth will these crazy dogs of mine do next, eh?’ I was not amused and suggested that next time they might seriously injure someone followed by quite an expensive lawsuit. It seems I am invisible to dogs too.
Last month whilst running through Bramhope, a woman in a car mounted the kerb and drove straight at me along the pavement. She slammed on the brakes at the last minute with a look of total horror when she realized she was within inches of seeing me sail over her bonnet! As I continued on my (somewhat wobbly) way the reason for her maneuver became clear: she performed a U-turn in the narrow road and then promptly attempted to drive through the gateway into her house at speed. Amazingly, in doing so she nearly hit me again (second time lucky?)!!!!! If she hadn’t slammed on her brakes and skidded to a halt she would have driven straight across the pavement and ploughed through me but thereby successfully reached her home (presumably just in time for East Enders)! Car drivers cannot see me either!
To avoid all this sort of nonsense, I recommend running in the countryside. Like for example, 2 weeks ago when I decided to escape the scrum of the pavement. I headed up to Wharfedale and ran up Buckden Pike and along the ridge to Great Whernside. There was no one around for miles and miles. There was nothing but peace and calm and huge panoramic vistas. No crowded pavements or racing motor vehicles. Lovely! And on the descent, what do you know? I encountered another runner coming up the hill in the opposite direction to me. And as we closed in on each other, at the last moment he swerved directly into me to avoid a puddle!!!! And damn it all, he was wearing sodding headphones and despite me shouting hello to him, he just hadn’t bloody well noticed me!!!!!
I have decided to exclusively run on a treadmill in the gym from now on. RANT OVER!