Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Hoot and the Holler

What do all of the following have in common?
  • 70+ year old lady holding an umbrella getting her mail
  • 4 screaming teenage girls in a limo
  • A (roughly) 9-year-old girl waiting in line for ice cream
  • A Brittany Spaniel running around in circles

If you took the easy road and answered that they were all female, you'd be correct. Then again, except for the dog, I gave you that information. Therefore, the answer is probably a bit deeper than the obvious. The response that I am searching for was, 'They were all heard hooting and hollering at me during my past 3 workouts.'

Brief History Behind the Hoot
The hoot was invented during the Roman Empire Era, roughly 200 BC. Roman soldiers were under strict orders by the Roman General Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator to show that they were not uncivilized dotes. Aside: His name was rumored to be stolen, divided into 2 separate characters, and then modified for the movie Gladiator.  His position wholly was misunderstood by Hollywood. End Aside. The Roman soldiers (with or without wristwatches) were the best in the business at that time, but had a negative reputation amongst the masses. Maybe it was because they had a penchant for raping and pillaging. QFMV (as he was affectionately called by the boys) wanted to change the image of the army. Pillaging was still acceptable but raping was now considered 'most unsoldier-like'. The soldiers had to resort to name calling and slander to replace their barbaric tendencies. The overall opinion by the masses remained relatively unchanged.

Brief History Behind the Holler
The holler, oddly, was invented much later. One would think that the Romans, in their frustration, would have hooted much louder. It had never occurred to the soldiers that they might gain more attention should they raise their voices. The holler first found its way into the history books around 800 AD in England. Alfred the Great, King of a divided island, was busy fighting Danish warriors for the rights to the land. The Danes were fierce warriors but quiet. They let their swords do the talking. Alfred learned that the Danes were easily disturbed by loud noises and ordered his soldiers to yell as often as they could. Having inherited the hoot from the Romans, Alfred's troops added in volume, which is still the norm in the barracks today.

Jump to the Near Present
The H&H from the 70+ lady happened midst my brick run on Wednesday. Having already completed a 27 mile ride, I ran out into the neighborhood readying myself for the hill repeats on the schedule. It was raining, which should come as no surprise given this season. The lady and I just happened to cross paths as I was heading up the backside of the hill that I was going to repeat on the frontside. She had an umbrella and was walking to the mailbox. Her hoot and holler went something like, "Looking good young man. Nice form!" Granted, it wasn't much of a holler, but she gave it her all and the meaning was still there. Before her comment, my legs were screaming and I was tuckered. Post comment- I was smiling. I must tell you that I picked up my pace as the fatigue melted away. I was encouraged by her attention and completed my hill workout energetically.

The H&H from the teenagers happened on Friday. Normally, I would be using Friday as a recovery ride from a Thursday long run. I took Thursday off to have a date with The Wife, who had a rough day. I rescheduled the long run for Saturday and used Friday as a brick day. Just embarking on a 30 mile ride and roughly a mile and a half from my home, I was perched on my bike at one of the many stoplights that I must endure before finding open road several miles away from my current location. A limo drove by with young women in expensive dresses, fancy hairdos, flowers strapped to their wrists, and their heads out the window. Apparently, it was prom night for said girls who had no problem taking advantage of their youthful voices. Their garble was a bit less intelligible than the 70+ woman. If I remember correctly, their exact quote would be, "Woo Hoo!" from one. "Yeah, baby!" from another. As the limo sped away, more verbal spew came from the window but was scrambled on the wind before the words reached my ear. Good ride that day.

The 9-year-old girl was waiting in line at a local ice cream parlor on Saturday. I was mid-long run. My schedule called for 2 hours. I hate bringing beverage with me as I'm too lazy to carry 8-16 ounces of fluid (too much work and I'm rather weak).  I opt for really long laps. I leave a bottle in the drive, do a 5 mile+ loop and return for a drink. This procedure allows me to use the facilities at home, should the need arise, while concurrently relieving me of my hydration-carrying obligations. The ice cream shop is walk-up only and roughly 2 miles into the loop. The girl saw me prancing by on lap 2 of 3. Her H&H, "You rock!" Who am I to disagree?

The Brittany Spaniel also happened on Saturday's long run. I was now on lap 3 and nearing the 1:40 minute mark of my day. I was tired and in need of some external motivation. I ran past the ice cream stand for a third time, hoping for attention. I got nothing. Mind you, I had my shirt off by this time. Didn't matter. I think most people are completely intimidated by my massive pecs disgusted by my sweaty, smelly self whilst I run topless. Either that, or they are distracted by my heart rate monitor resting below my nipples, its black strap in stark contrast to my white-boy skin. Regardless, no one yelled and I felt myself slowing. About a quarter mile up the road, the Brittany was hanging out with her owner. He was a beatnik sitting on a lawn chair and strumming a guitar. The dog was running in circles to the tune of the music, clearly enjoying life. Once the puppy eyed me, she stopped. Her H&H, "Woof. Grrrr. Woof woof."  She then resumed her own personal lap-laden workout. Worked for me. I smiled and picked up the pace.

Often times, I chat with the Wife about her workouts. She will complain that some bloke, kid, or other idiot yelled some nonsense at her. Well, she's pretty hot, so I can understand the appeal of directing a H&H in her direction. She, however, is less than appreciative. I have a feeling that many XXers agree with her, along with a couple XYers. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that most dudes are like me, they enjoy the attention. When I asked the Wife why she'd prefer silence over the H&H, she links it to upbringing and culture. In her defense, boys have a history of not treating girls with respect. Take the elementary school boy, for example. When he likes a girl, does he buy her flowers or write her poems? Nope. He hits her and pulls her hair. Such behaviors are counter-productive and completely misunderstood by the objects of his affection. My guess is the aggressiveness of his gesture as a young'n ruined the effectiveness of the H&H in the later years, which is still deemed counter-productive and is completely misunderstood. (Should a girl show any sort of physical attention to a boy, cha-ching.)

Four times in three days have I experienced the hoot and holler. And you know what? I liked each and every one. This may be because no one hit me or pulled my hair as a lad. Today, I find the H&H positive, motivating, and uplifting. I view the H&H in the same light as I view the crowds of people cheering at a race. They only want to encourage. That's how I see the 70+ lady, the teenagers going prom, the adolescent getting ice cream, and the doggie running in circles. Their H&H screamed, "I see you and I'm happy about it!" What's not to like about that?

So, should you happen to see me out and about, by all means... Hoot. Holler. Shout. Scream. Ogle. Yell whatever you want.  I'm into it. In fact, you'd probably be doing me a favor and give my workout a boost. Show me your Uvula!

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