Wednesday, March 13, 2013

For this is your calling - to do good ...

I got a new tattoo and I like it a lot. This makes tattoo number three and it is on my forearm so it is exposed most of the time. The reactions I’ve gotten from it have been interesting. Most of them have been positive.

In a week and a half I fly to Houston, land on Saturday night, drive to Austin and then after a short night of jet lagged rest I run a 30k trail race. Training has gone really well so I am hoping for an awesome race at The Maze.

I am still doing speed work at the track one day a week and it has been a bit of a soap opera. Over a month ago I was running in the inside lane like normal and an old guy was weaving in and out of lane one and two as he walked. I timed his weave and said “on your left” and I freaked him out. I didn’t mean to but it scared him and he jumped on to the grass beside the track which was to his left and we almost collided.

The next week I went to the track and was running hard around a turn and the same old man, walking again in the inside lane, started motioning wildly for me to pass on the right and not the left. I was not in the mood to be accommodating so I passed on the left and brushed by him sliming him with my sweat.

He was obviously not amused. When I finished up I walked backwards on the track to meet him and try to explain why I was doing what I was doing. I told him it was normal for those going fastest to use the inside lanes and those slower to move progressively to the outside lanes. That is track etiquette. Those are normally the rules.

I thought this would make sense to them because Singaporeans supposedly are famous about following the rules. What I forgot is that rules are only to be followed when they are convenient or when there is severe punishment attached to breaking them. Anyway an older lady came up to help the man I had offended and she said “He is very old and it is much too far for him to walk on the outside lane.”

I thought "he may be very old but he is in very good shape because his walk is brisk. And I am only asking for half a lane not the outside"

I said, “Well he is here for the exercise right? Just don’t walk as many laps if it is too far. And second, are you telling me if you are old you don’t have to follow the rules?”

They said, “We have been coming here for a long time and you just started coming.”

I said, “And … that means you don’t have to follow the rules?” I told them “Nevermind” in my most sincere singlish and said “I like it here. I’ll be back next Wednesday.”

The next week I made sure I swung wide around the walkers using the inside lane and didn’t get too close to offend. I also told every person “Good morning!” in a loud happy voice. I was not trying to be insincere but hoped to smooth it over a little. The man that was mad at me looked at me out of the corner of his eye, pressed his lips tightly together and gave me one stern head shake then stared off in the distance. I guess he did not want me to be nice.

This morning the old man and his wife showed up at the track after I had already started running. They sat on the stands and watched for a while and left before I was done. I guess they decided it is not worth exercising when the big white guy is on the track. I wish they would exercise when I am there but I am not going to stop going so they can - at least not until June when we move back to Texas.

Never pay back a bad turn with a bad turn or an insult with another insult, but on the contrary pay back with good. For this is your calling—to do good and one day to inherit all the goodness of God. 1 Peter 3:9

I am obviously not always so good at this …