Remember that I’m-fed-up-with-the-Y hissy fit I had a few months ago? Part of suspending my membership (‘suspended’ as opposed to ‘dropped’ in case I missed it desperately and wanted to re-join without fees) (and I have yet to miss it) (at all) included a resolve to become a night time runner during the dark dark days (and evenings) of winter. I bought a set of Knuckle Lights. (Love.) Arm warmers. (Love love.) And? A reflective vest. (Kind of love to hate.)
But running any time after 4 p.m. in December pretty much mandates the safety gear. Because, as we all know, if I die a tragic early death, my motherless daughter will be SCREWED. No way am I going to let that happen because of a little vanity…and let’s face it, “she died pretty!” was never going to go on my tombstone anyway. So every Tuesday night found me wrestling thin bits of velcro around my midsection and (half the time) discovering I had put the thing on backwards. Then I would trot off down the street, knuckles lit and torso reflective, on my way to meet Amy on the corner.
And OH THE MOCKING.
Seriously, do you know how many crossing guard jokes that girl can fit in to a quarter mile stretch of pavement?
I tried shaming her in to wearing one, too. I answered her jokes with my long-imagined worst-case-scenarios: embarrassing ambulance rides where my granny panties would be discovered by attractive paramedics (admittedly, death couldn’t be swift enough in this scenario), motherless children, a potentially long stay in the ICU with my mother whispering from the bedside ‘you should have been wearing a reflective vest!’
Good old Catholic shame didn’t work, so I moved to Plan B. I sent a text to her husband Scott. Told him I was planning to get Amy an armband for Christmas, but she also needed a reflective vest for our evening runs, she’d actually been begging for one! (A small lie, justifiable in the name of Safety.) And would he pick one up for her?
And let me tell you, people. Scott did not disappoint. You ask him to pick up a reflective vest for his woman and he’s going to pick the best damn reflective vest on the market.
I’ll bet you he had visions of motherless children and granny panties and ambulance rides dancing in his head, too, because what showed up at my door this evening wasn’t so much a VEST as it was a STATEMENT PIECE. It didn’t merely reflect, oh no. It shouted to all drivers near and far KILL ME AND YOU WILL PAY.
My favorite part? It blinks.
Yes sir. If you can get past the large swaths of plastic neon yellow that put my shabby velcro strips to shame, you will find blinking red Christmas lights embedded both chest and back. And? The battery pack tucks neatly in to its own little pocket buried within The Vest of Shame, so it doesn’t migrate during your run or cause chafing. Because that’s just the kind of thoughtful guy Scott happens to be.
I don’t know if he planted the Christmas lights himself or if Amazon graced him with this gem when he typed ‘reflective vest’ in to its search engine, but…wow. Just wow.
So, yeah. Okay. I laughed a little. (A lot.) Might have peed my pants. (A little.) I would post a photo of the two of us that my aunt so graciously offered to take before we left the house, but I’m pretty sure Amy would kill me.
We set off down the street like a freak show Christmas light display, only mobile and more like a wandering circus act.
But let me tell you the best part! All the hazards of nighttime running fell away in a blaze of blinking glory! SUVs gave us a wide berth. (We could see drivers laughing.) Cars that might have once pulled too far in to an intersection before noticing a pair of mother runners at their side couldn’t exactly use the ‘oops, sorry, didn’t see you there!’ excuse. I, for one, felt incredibly safe while running this evening.
Pretty sure Amy felt ridiculous. But I’ll be damned if we’re checking out of this world while wearing granny panties on a Tuesday night three miler.