At the foot of my hill

So this afternoon I’m out for a run. It’s a crisp October day, the sun is out, finally, and it’s shining through the last of the fall foliage. I live in rural upstate New York, and on a day like this, the country roads turn into tunnels of leafy gold-orange light.

I have my iPod on, loud enough to rock, natch, soft enough to hear the pat-pat of my sneakers on the asphalt. And to hear any cars or trucks or anything coming up behind me. Out in the sticks, sometimes people enjoy doing about 70 even in 30 zones, because, well, why not, it’s not like there’s traffic.

I get near my first turnoff; I do roughly two miles from my driveway and back again, along a ridgetop, down to a valley, along a stream, and then up and home. So I’m close to heading downhill. And I hear a roar behind me, someone coming fast, in a pickup or an SUV or something big. This song is playing. I sheer off the to the very right edge of the road. I can only go so far because, well, there’s a ditch.

Dude RIPS by me by maybe a foot. A fucking foot.

I jump about two feet, straight up in the air.

As this giant red pickup disappears up the ridge in a cloud of dust and dead leaves, I notice two things.

One.

He’s flipping me off out his window.

Two.

His Paladino for Governor bumpersticker.

So I stop, get my heart back in my throat, briefly contemplate the existence of lots of pointlessly angry people in America right now, furious that there’s someone else doing something they’re not doing on a public road.

And then I go back to my run.

It’s still a beautiful day.