Standing on the track at the Tualatin High School, I ogled the women around me, all clad in clingy tech materials, and all in decent shape or better. Yeah, there were men, too but I didn’t notice them.

I turned to Caleb, who, like me, was getting ready for the start of our race. “On my way to pick you up this morning,” I said, “I drove by the Portland Running Company store and saw a group leaving for a run.” I paused significantly. “And they were all women. Maybe I should join that group…” I smiled.

Caleb looked briefly uncomfortable. “If you’re looking for a woman without baggage, I don’t know that you should be looking at runners. They’re always running away from something.”

I smirked, “You mean, like you and me? I don’t think it’s just the women, actually. Everybody’s got baggage.”

“I’m just saying that a higher percentage of women run because they’re avoiding something.” He chuckled. “I have other ways of avoiding things, I don’t need running to do that. I run for other reasons.”

I looked around at all the toned bodies. “Do you mean that you think everyone here has baggage?”

“No, I said a percentage. I’m just saying that you might not want to date a runner.” He smiled again. “I should know, right?”

“What percentage, then?” Even though I knew Caleb was speaking generally, I pushed for specific number from him, for what reason I don’t know, but asking the question allowed me some time to process what he was saying. I honestly couldn’t think of any category of woman that I might meet that didn’t retain the possibility of having at least some issues. Considering my hobbies and my habits, where else am I going to meet women? And what the hell; I know I’ve got issues, too.

“Sixty percent.” Caleb stated it flatly. I suspect he knew I was pushing for an unrealistic assessment from him, but he accomodated my defense mechanism.

“OK, sixty percent,” I said, as we shuffled forward towards the starting line, “I like those odds.”