Let me explain it this way. It takes me 1.5 hours to get to work. My commute consists of two trains and a bus. It may sound horrible, but it's really not. I read, listen to my ipod, think of nothing, text friends. I am very used to my commute. Last night, on my trek home, I took the N train from Union Square, switched at Queensborough Plaza to the 7 train, got off at the last stop (Flushing) and went to the bus stop to wait for the Q16 home. (You know you live in Bumble when the subway doesn't run in your neighborhood, at least in NYC anyway, or so some of my friends have shared.) The bus came, I got on.
There was nothing special or different about my commute home last night. Nothing different that is, until I rang the bell to get off. And as I am stepping off the bus, I thank the driver and he says: "No running today?". It takes me a minute. "Running?" I think to myself. And that's when I remember that my now longer run outside is essentially the bus route I take home. And I want to burst out laughing that anyone would remember me running. Let alone one of the many, many, many bus drivers working the route. "No", I reply with a smile, "I'm going to run tomorrow morning." And he says, "I see you running all the time." And with that, I smile, thank him again and I get off the bus, walk the few blocks home, open the door, and burst into a fit of laughter as I am trying to explain to my mom what just happened.
You see, when I first started running, I was incredibly self-conscious. (Let's be honest, I still am.) I know I don't run "like everybody else" and I didn't want people to stare at me or notice me. At. All. And it took me a while to convince myself that nobody would ever notice. And that even if they saw me, I grew to convince myself that after a moment, they would continue on with whatever they were doing and never remember.
Well, as my friend, Andrea, can attest, this theory was dispelled in Belfast. In Belfast, I had all of the security guards in the dorm area asking me about my runs and how long they were and when did I run and why didn't they see me run that morning, etc., etc. whenever they saw me. Andrea and I grew to coin them my running fan club. It was pretty funny.
When I got back to New York, I again convinced myself that no one would notice. This is New York City after all...people make an effort not to notice anyone here. And, after 4 years of thinking that no one really sees me or my weird running style (or the many times I fall and scrape my knee open), a New York City bus driver tells me he sees me running all of the time. So, apparently, I have a running fan club in Whitestone. It may only be one person strong, but that's fine with me. It's nice to be noticed, but I am still, self-conscious, after all.