I have already talked about some of the strange things I have been told on the streets of Kingston. The city is apparently full of loudmouths and busibodies eager to dish out advice, insults and observations. Yesterday, a complete stranger passing on the sidewalk stopped, looked me in the eyes and said, “You look sleep deprived”. I sort of laughed and continued on my way. But the more I pondered his words, the more they bothered me.
Granted, I wasn’t looking my best. I was wearing an incongruous assortment of clothing hurriedly cast on after my run. My arms overflowed with binders, notepads and pens with a travel mug balanced on top. A lingering cold left me with red-rimmed eyes and a runny nose. I was also sporting a seven day near-beard. You know that awkward stage when facial hair can no longer be classified as stubble but has yet to reach full beard status? It’s a style that graces the faces of trailer trash, semi-pubescent boys and washed-up celebrities alike. A near-beard manages to simultaneously convey several impressions at once: “I don’t-give-a-shit”, “I am a dirtbag”, “I am mentally unbalanced”, “Whuh?”, etc.
Back to the guy in the street. What right did he have to say that? When you tell someone they look tired, you are essentially telling them that they look like shit, only it is somehow considered socially acceptable. Thanks for the observation buddy. You wouldn’t be fresh as a daisy either if you had a fourth year physics course-load, a high mileage training plan and three consecutive weekends of racing. Not to mention, the biggest back-to-school adjustment: INSUFFICIENT NAPPING OPPORTUNITIES.
Maybe I’m misinterpreting the situation. Maybe he was a compassionate soul who was genuinely concerned by my haggard appearance. The smirk that was on his face said otherwise. Whatever his intentions, it can’t be a good sign when a complete stranger feels the need to tell you this. Fortunately, it’s Thanksgiving weekend. Between naps, I’ll watch the Ironman World Championships while nibbling Tofurky and nursing my wounded self-esteem.