I met my husband in the lovely city of Pittsburgh and assumed that he was a city boy. I grew up in New York City so city folk were all I knew. Little did I know that my husband was really a country boy – a fishing, hunting, camping, growing his own food type of country boy. When he brought me to his hometown of Erie, PA, I found out the depths of his country roots.
Actually, I love going back to my husband’s hometown and visiting his parents. Each visit brings new insights into why my honey is the way he is and why I love him – because of or despite of – these revelations.
On this visit, I was able to run the trail on Presque Isle – a beautiful paved path along Lake Erie.
This was actually my first time running this trail. Usually we are visiting his parents during the holidays and winters in Erie are prettt cold and snowy – not my ideal running weather.
I was amazed by the views on this trail. While that actually isn’t Canada across the water (it’s Erie), it did make me think of the differences between Canada and the US (check out this link for an opinion why). Especially since the last election, my view of the US as the “best nation in the world” has done a 180. As I am running along this beautiful trail, all I can think about as I look at the faces of people I am passing, is how many of these people voted for Trump.
This thought made me both angry and afraid. I stopped smiling and making eye contact with the people going in the other direction. Most of them were older white people, a few were middle aged white people, some with kids. None of them threatened me in any obvious way – none wore MAGA hats or swastikas – but I did get stares and non-smiling faces. As if people were wondering what an Asian woman was doing running along Lake Erie.
The experience of “otherness” is one I have been more acutely aware of in the past months. As a runner, I liked to think that other runners, other health minded people, were open minded in the same way that I was. However, I’ve learned the hard way that this way of thinking about runners and others in the health community is not always true.
This realization sunk in deep during this run. At least the beautiful scenery was a buoy to my sinking spirit.