The Duck and Run! Have You Ever?

By Crystal Tiingle

I kind of think I already know the answer to this and for one reason only. We have ALL done it! So let me just say that this is meant to be one of those stories that as you read through it, you will blush and giggle at the same time because you were able to answer yes to the question. I will be the first one to admit it. Yes! I have been in that moment where I have pulled the “Duck and Run”…that moment when you see someone you know and do your very best to avoid speaking to them. But hang on before any of you get offended and feel like you were on the receiving end of that, especially if I know you…let me explain.  Recently, I found MYSELF the victim of a “Duck and Run!” I know! Can you believe it? Yes, I was the one whom they ran from! Now, I don’t think that typically you are supposed to be aware that the “duck” happened to you, especially if the “runner” is an experienced one, but regardless, I noticed.  It’s okay to laugh! My first reaction was to get tickled because #1, they got busted and # 2, because I have done this very thing to someone else.  My second reaction after thinking about it was confusion.  “Why me? I am a nice person. Why did they try to avoid me?” And then my third was internalization. “If they did it to me and I do it also, why do we do it?”

So I started my own little low-scale investigative journalism project. I asked a few random friends if they had ever participated in such anti-social behavior and, to my humor, almost 100% were guilty as charged! It was actually quite funny listening to everyone’s reasons so I thought this would be a fun, to-be-taken-lightly look at some of our human frailties that lead us to do ridiculous things such as this as if no one notices. It is this journey through life that makes us all the same in our very different ways. 

So here is the fun part. How is the “Duck and Run” pulled off? Gathering from several people including myself, here are a few methods! For our purposes, the setting is a grocery store and to add a bit of humor I have assigned names to each category. (This was also fun creating title!)

1. The Rewind

The most obvious way is to turn or back out and hit another aisle. This has to be done quickly and with precision with no jerky movements as to not draw attention to the retraction.  Stay cool and smooth as if planned. 

2. The Phone-a-Friend

If you are too late and already down the aisle and feel that a jerky Rewind would be noticed, quickly grab your phone and pretend like you are talking with someone. Just hope that you have your phone on silent as you pass them by, offering a courtesy wave and smile, and it doesn’t start ringing in your ear. 

3. The Parade Wave

If you are a fair distance from them but you were spotted, and you are in a place where you have a fair area to roam like the produce section and not right past them, smile, step up your pace, keep walking and give a friendly across-the-store wave and a courtesy yelp like “Hey there!” but keep on walking.

4. The Analyzer

They haven’t seen you but you can’t pull off the Rewind, so quickly throw your attention on a product that may have caught your eye, pick it up and stay distracted and apparently very interested in the nutritional facts until they pass. 

5. The Traveler 

You saw them early enough so you quickly head to the opposite side of the store and begin your shopping in reverse, but take care that you carefully navigate the aisles, cautiously sneak, peeking around the corners, before committing to turn because at some point you will more than likely collide if not careful. 

These are funny! And these are just a few of the top ones that I have heard and quite frankly used myself. And it makes it even more comical as you picture yourself in some of these situations! But the truth is, we are all guilty and do things sometimes that might not seem like the most considerate or kindest thing to do to someone, but I have often said that there is a always a why behind the what of the who. There is a reason and history behind each of our actions and often, as the aware recipient, we are so quick to get offended or take things personally when it may not be personal at all.  I think more often than not when I evaluate the different reasons why I have avoided people it was NOT because I didn’t like them or want to speak to them. I am a very social person and love to talk. More times than not, my attempts to elude were based on what I was dealing with on that particular day and it had nothing to do with them. Could it be that others do it for the same reasons? Could it be that they were having a very busy day and had only a short amount of time left to accomplish things before getting home to fix dinner or pick up kids and were just trying to stay on task? Or maybe they just weren’t in the best mood! Maybe the morning started off rough…a disagreement with one of the teenagers or hubby, a phone call from a family member that set a bad tone for the day. Maybe in that moment they just needed to get out and get things done and just weren’t feeling very personable from the morning events that were weighing on them. Is it possible that they were just not feeling good? Maybe they were just under the weather and coming down with something. Or another scenario could be that you knew something personal that they were going through and they just weren’t ready to answer questions about it or even discuss it yet. There are so many reasons why we each set boundaries and distance so we can have our personal space, and sometimes the “Duck and Run” is all we know to do. 

This is certainly meant to be light-hearted but also to shed light on our imperfections and humanity. Our nation has gotten to the point that we are so quickly offended and less likely to forgive and extend grace which is sad because we often forget our own imperfections in those moments when we are really all very much the same whether we admit it or not. Recently, I watched a movie that is now in my top 10 favorites of all time! The movie was Same Kind of Different as Me and is based on a true story.  It is about a man who was a very wealthy international art dealer, his wife who served at a homeless shelter and another man named Denver Moore, a very bitter, angry homeless man who many years ago was a slave.  The three develop a very unlikely lifetime friendship and at the end of the movie, Denver says one of the most profound endearing statements that I will never forget. I won’t say why he delivers this message in case you want to watch the movie but regardless, he says this: 

“I found out everybody’s different – the same kind of different as me. We’re all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us. The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or something in between, this earth ain’t no final restin’ place. So in a way, we is all homeless – just workin our way toward home.”  – Denver Moore

So you see, we really are all the same kind of different. We are all just trying to figure it out and move through the best we can. Though we are wonderfully made, we are still amazingly human. So as we blush, giggle, duck and run, or see it happen, let’s also try to remember that we are on this crazy journey together and with that comes time constraints, personal problems, mood swings and just life…busy, crazy beautiful life! Life that we should see, even in the craziest of moments, as the same kind of different as you…and me! So just laugh, grin and extend…grace to all!