26/03/2010 by etiennefish
Running in the rain has historically been a long-loved pastime of mine. It’s something about the smell of the damp earth, the way that the drops fall from the tips of tree branches, the sounds of cars on the wet pavement, and the refreshing feeling of raindrops hitting my face and trickling through my hair and off the tip of my nose. I have learned, however, that running in the rain in Geneva is like combining an obstacle course with some twisted form of fencing.
*The following statements should be proceeded by this one: Now it is my humble opinion, that of all the places I’ve lived, the Genevois are not the most particularly concerned with providing space for other pedestrians on walkways, or, you know, going around you instead of barrelling through you if you happen to be standing in the vicinity of their desired route.*
Well, up until now as luck would have it, we have not gone on many rainy runs, but I have now learned that here it is a life-changing experience. You see, this city is full of very appearance conscience people, and thus at the first slight hint of damp in the clouds, people open up the umbrellas as a precautionary measure (we wouldn’t want to ruin all the expensive clothes). It is important to also note that people tend to have REALLY big umbrellas here. And they walk in the middle of the side walk. And, despite them having room, they don’t move over for you, even if you politely call out things to the effect of: ‘Excuse me,’ or ‘on your left,’ etc. Also, as their umbrellas really do reach such gargantuan proportions that I’m not actually sure how they can see where they are going from under them, they decide to angle the little spear-like tips on the end at you as you try and pass. For someone of my height, this usually equals eye level. For someone who is running and therefore going at a much faster pace then the average person on their daily commute, this means you tend to pass a large quantity of spear-clad umbrella-clad warriors. Awesome.
So basically what I’m trying to say, is that not only did I spend my morning dodging inconsiderate cars, and randomers who felt like they had something to prove by taking up as much space as humanly possible on the side walks that were built for people to be able to pass each other comfortably on, but I also was forced to do my best to avoid a wide array of sharp objects while in fear for my life, and also pretending to get a workout. Next time I embark upon a rain run, I’ve decided that I’m bringing defensive provisions. Which may or may not include ski poles or a really big stick.