I have never deemed myself a particularly scary person but it seems that I have an unnatural talent for unintentionally frightening people.
I say unintentionally because if I make the effort to scare someone, it doesn't work - they seem to be more aware of me if I sneak up on them than if I just casually walk up to them and start talking.
A case in point is Helen, a young* lady I used to work with who had an equally unnatural talent for making me pass wind when she thumped me: consider it a defence mechanism!!
If ever I tried to sneak up on her it seemed that whatever radar was installed in her head made her turn around: you could almost see the moment the 'ping' went off. If I just wandered in and sat on her desk to wait for her to finish what she was doing, there would be no 'ping' moment, so seeing me filling up the space behind her would result in a series of expletives and reactions that would invariably result in a thump.
My Mum is the same ... barring the thump, of course ... who I normally catch at the kitchen sink. Sounds a bit 50s homemaker but its the only room in the house where she has her back to the door, and what with her poor hearing, its a wonder I don't frighten her more often.
I have now discovered that this talent isn't limited to just the people I know.
Last night, I went for my longest run yet** in an effort to work out the frustrations of the day. The run started really hard but I got myself into a reasonable rhythm so that I felt I could keep ploughing on, despite my knees kicking up a fuss.
About a mile-and-a-half into my usual route, I decided to take a slight detour and ended up down on the A411 by The Grove Golf Resort and Management Centre. This would mean a huge hill to climb at the end of the road, but that is nothing compared to some of the hills in South Shields that RoadRunner and I are going to have to contend with come October.
Part of this road is lined with trees that meet overhead, making it quite dingy during the day. When night falls and the streetlamps are smothered by the trees, the dingy-ness deepens into a kind of dark, murky calm that blankets this stretch of road. Its not the kind of place that people generally like to go for an evening stroll as it does not lead to anything of immediate interest, but some people do head this way to get to the bus stops.
I'm not sure the guy that was wandering along there last night was intending to get a bus due to it being well past 11pm, but he certainly thought he was alone with his thoughts.
So that I didn't have to squeeze past on the narrow pathway, I stepped into the road and maintained a steady pace past him. Apparently, he was so alone with his thoughts that he was even oblivious to the jingle of my keys and, as I overtook him, he went on the alert and promptly disappeared sideways into the bushes!
I know I needed a shave but I didn't think I had quite reached werewolf proportions.
I guess I should have apologised, but if I had done I doubt I would have contained the laughter that was trying to burst out of me. Instead, I did the only thing I could think of that would help him keep his dignity: I kept running and pretended I hadn't noticed.
* I say young, but she is at least five years older than me and would have people believe she is still thirty-five after all this time.
** 6.7 miles! Woohoo, a quarter marathon!! If I keep up the pace, I should complete the Great North Run in the same time as the last two attempts :-)