Sunday, June 25, 2017

Why "Y'all" ain't one of my favorite expressions

"Y'all (the contracted form of "you all") isn't one of my favorite expressions, for a number of reasons. For one, it sloppily paints all the members of a group of individuals with the same broad brush. When used disapprovingly, as in "Y'all told me the office was gonna be open yesterday, but it was closed," it may ascribe blameworthiness to a whole group of individuals, whether they all deserve blame or not. It may ascribe blameworthiness to individuals who are innocent of any wrongdoing. Unnamed individuals may be referred to by the speaker who says, "Y'all..." The speaker takes no responsibility for saying exactly whom she is referring to. She simply makes an unverifiable, vague, and nebulous characterization of some group of individuals (as in "Y'all didn't say I had to be here by Tuesday"). The identity of the persons whom the speaker is referring to is never explicitly stated. It's never made clear exactly who is being referred to.
      Another reason that "Y'all" isn't one of my favorite expressions is that the listener may infer that she is the person whom the speaker is referring to, but this inference is left up to the listener to make, given that the speaker has broad-handedly made an assertion, declaration, accusation, or invitation addressed to whomever is within earshot, but to no one in particular. If the listener finds the speaker's use of the expression "Y'all" to be clumsy, inappropriate, or offensive and confronts the speaker with the clumsiness, inappropriateness, or offensiveness of her assertion, declaration, accusation, or invitation as it applies to the listener, the speaker may simply deny that the listener was the person being referred to. Thus, the expression "y'all" may be empty of any definite reference or meaning.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Baltimore 10 Miler, 2017

The Baltimore 10 Miler was held Saturday, June 3, 2017. The weather was perfect, about 64 degrees at 7:30 am, 70 degrees by 9 am, with only 3-4 mph wind. The race started at 7:30 am, with the runners crowded together in four successive waves (based on estimated finish time). I was in the third wave.
      There were 3,900 runners (1,539 men, 2,361 women). The course was quite crowded for the whole route. Water stations were set up intermittently from the 3 mile point to the end of the race. Police officers patiently controlled traffic at each street intersection.
      The race started and finished in Druid Hill Lake Park, near the Maryland Zoo. The course ran from Druid Hill Park, across an overpass above the Jones Falls Expressway, along Wyman Park Drive to Art Museum Drive, then onto Howard St., then left onto 28th St, along 28th St. to Greenmount Ave., then left onto Greenmount Ave., then up Greenmount to 33rd St., then right onto 33rd St., along 33rd St. to Lake Montebello, then around Lake Montebello and back to 33rd St., along 33rd St. and then right onto The Alameda, then left and back down The Alameda, then right onto 33rd St. and along 33rd St. back to Greenmount Ave., then south on Greenmount Ave. to 28th St., and then back to Druid Lake Park.
      Dave Berdan was the men’s winner in 53:47. Teresa Welsh was the women’s winner in 1:29:54.
      My finish time was 1:48:20 (which was better than I expected, because I was hampered by muscle strains, stiffness, and limited stride length throughout the race). Overall, I was 2395th of 3,900 runners, and 30th of 63 in the 60-64 age group.
      This was the first time I’d run a road race in a while. I think I know now how to get ready for the next one. I felt pretty relaxed throughout the race, and I’m looking forward to running better next time, hopefully.