Monday, November 5, 2012

Give 'Em the Finger!

No wait, it’s a good thing and runners know all about it.  When they encounter each other from opposing directions on the road, either too focused or too out of breath to shout a “Hey!” or a “Good Morning”, they give each other “The Finger”.  It’s a small gesture, usually not the middle one, though its meaning can be fluid and is completely user and context dependent.  Depending upon perspective, various, elaborate interpretations may be assigned to a seemingly simple use of body language.  Below are some sample interpretations of both, sending and receiving “finger” signals:

1.     Hey you! Fellow human being and runner, I acknowledge your presence and see that you and I are both of similar mind when it comes to getting up and out at 5 a.m. and making the most of our mornings.  This is cool!

2.     Wow, you are really moving fast; I wish I was as fast as you, but hey at least I’m out here running too while other folks are still in bed. Oh and look you gave me the finger too and acknowledged me even though you are one of the elite runners in town. Yes! That’s great!  Aren’t we cool? I feel so cool!

3.     Hey there struggling runner-good on ya! Good to see that you are out here even though it’s tough for you.  Keep up the hard work; trust me it will pay off. You are cool!

4.     Alright! I’m not the only crazy person in this neighborhood out at this hour.  Isn’t this fun? Hey, cool dog you got there!

5.     Good luck getting up this hill.  I’m on my way back now and I know it was tough! Stay cool in this heat!

When it comes to giving our fellow runners “The Finger” each of us adds our own particular panache to the gesture.  First of all “The Finger” is not necessarily limited to a single digit.  It is possible for it to be a full, open hand wave or greeting. More often there are a few fingers involved, some curled, slightly incorporated into a more complete “wave”.    Usually, the index finger is most prominent, but not always.  Sometimes, while offering “The Finger”, runners merely extend the index finger while simultaneously rotating their wrists 90 degrees in the direction of the other runner.  Hands usually remain at or by their side and may never actually rise above the runner’s waist.
Brief eye contact may also accompany “The Finger” for various time increments depending on the grade of the hill.  Subtle chin tilts up or in the direction of the approaching runner may substitute for, or combine with, “The Finger” gesture and is usually reserved for runners that frequently encounter each other.

The next time you are out running, pay close attention.  Observe the gestures that oncoming runners throw your way, and always, always, always, return the courtesy…
Give’em “The Finger”.  It is the considerate thing to do.

1 comment:

Yo Momma Runs said...

So true! Sometimes I even give the mental finger, when I'm too tired to move the index one.