Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Worst News for New York

How can this be? New York City has been named the Politest City in the World by Reader's Digest. (See their July Issue. It's pathetic.) The frigging world. This is Guiliani's fault. He's running for President. Shut up, he is too. And he's trying to make out like we are a bunch of goobers. A man who once said the motto for New York should be "We can kick your city's ass." has now turned us into some kind of clones from Ohio.

We're the nicest. Fuggetaboutit.

God. I feel something akin to shame and anger. How dare the Reader's Digest smear us this way? How did they get this so wrong? What? Did a couple of tourists help out another couple of tourists while a Reader's Digest crew watched?
(Why does that sound wrong somehow?)

I know, I know. The signs have been everywhere. The other day some people said they were going out for Italian and I asked them whereto? They said (oh the shame, the utter shame) The Italian Garden. Not Beppos on 22nd (which is so hip they don't even have a website.) Not Vento's down on Hudson Street and 13th, not even Camille's. The frigging Italian- hey, why not stay home and have some Chef Boy-ar-Dee?? I said. They said "They loved his ravioli."

"They loved his ravioli."

Ah, things change, I know. Like nobody knows what two-bits is anymore. I ask people if they want the little keyring for an extra two-bits, they ask how much is it?


Used to be bagels were six bits for six, a buck and a half for a dozen, but a dozen had fourteen (don't ask). Now a bagel is six bits EACH without a schmear, but that's just me complaining which I will have to stop doing because New York is now the frigging Politeness Capitol of the frigging world.

I don't know if I can do it. Complaining is our best sport after Cutting In Line. Half the fun in the bagel line is waiting for the next customer to hesitate a half a second so you can yell your order and then you both complain to each other and the bagel guy, that NO, I was next!! It's family.

How can they ask us to stop Cutting in Line just so this guy can run for President?

It's a disaster for New York, I tell you, a disaster. Two years from now, you won't be able to tell you are even in New York. We'll be holding doors like in Tulsa, and the kids will be helping little old ladies across the street without snagging some of her groceries and we'll be smiling at each other as we pass on the sidewalk, saying "Howdy" and "Good Frigging Morning" and looking like eight million escapees from the methadone clinic around the corner. Damn you, Rudy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The First Run of the Summer
Man with Trophy Seen in Porta-Potty
The History of Giuseppe Mazzini is Revealed to Me.

Central Park Sunday 8:00 AM
Why aren't these people in bed? Because it's the Father's Day Five Mile Run. I got there early because I hadn't picked up my number and tag on Friday as I normally do. The first thing I found out is that you don't have to pick up your number and tag on Friday, so that is going to save me a lot of time before the next race. I also found out, mostly by watching people at other races, that you do not have to have a bag of stuff with you. Most of the time I have my fanny pack with an extra shirt (or two), spare set of socks, my gym lock, my Muvo music thingie, my keys and wallet. It's the everyday in New York is a nature hike you have to pack for rule, but today I was determined to do a bare bones run.
I brought my keys and my Metrocard. No extra stuff. I brought the Palm because I wanted to take pictures, but in the future, maybe that stays home.
Because I got there early I got to wander around through the legs. There are a lot of legs.

Any observer would see that the vast majority of these people do not see a five mile run as any kind of a challenge, but more of a 'something to do before we take the rest of the family to the Boathouse for lunch'. The run is not the serious part of the day. There are business meetings going on in the line for the Porta-Potties -two guys ahead of me in line were negotiating the shipment of some huge amount of something and vacations are being planned -the woman in the teal outfit doing the hamstring stretch just saved a lost summer for her friend in the black shorts by offering her the possibility of someone not fulfilling their agreement on the rental in the Hamptons. Oh, and there was a guy with the trophy in the Porta-Potty. Apparently he was delivering it to some group of very large guys in matching running jerseys when he was unavoidably detained. My question was : There are not too many places to put stuff in a Porta-Potty. Where did he put it while solving his problem?

It was hot at the start and hot through the first two miles and hot all the way to the finish.
Here is my most usual view during a run. Yes, those are people all the way out of sight and around the corner. It really helped if when you leave your big bag of stuff home, you also leave most of your self esteem. During the race, because I left my music thingie (Mp3 whatever) at home, I got to listen in on more business being done, several people were thinking about leaving their jobs or had already done so, one hugely hairy-shouldered guy was schmoozing his running partner about something but I couldn't catch what it was. I was very glad to have no one to talk to because I don't think I could have carried on a conversation. I did get a lift in the last mile from a passing runner who acted as if she knew me but by that time I was blinded by my sweat. Did I mention that before the run I had half-promised myself that I was going to trot on up to 110th Street to get a few extra miles in? Well, that half promise was not fulfilled.

I finished pretty strong, making sure that two gray-haired guys (in my age group) were left behind, but that was it for me. I got some water cups and wandered over to the Giuseppe Mazzini statue and started to read the sign all about how he well, read it here.
Anyway, while I was reading another finisher came up and started reading too. I waited until he's gotten about done and then said "I run by this guy's head thousands of times now, but I've never stopped to read the sign." "Same here." he replied. It was a reminder to me that I need to see more of the park then just the white line on the pavement.

Over at the Seventh Regiment Statue (I was trying to get a start on things.) one older skinny fellow was leading an even older fellow up the hill to have a seat on the statue's base. I offered them one of my cups of water. Turns out older fellow is the son-in-law and is seventy-one, the older fellow is his father-in-law. We talked about running a little running, older fellow expressed his disappointment at running a couple of over nine/thirties that morning. (I am hoping to break ten minute miles soon.) I called him a rabbit and he laughed and I said I hoped he and his wife's dad had a great Father's Day. Mine was going good so far.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Easy Moving

About everyday this guy rides his bike up to the corner of 23rd and 3rd and gets his boogie on. He's got a little boombox in that front basket and it's tuned to whatever disco is on the air. He rocks it, he claps his hands. He yells "Hey!"

More arm movement then leg, the choregraphy is formed by joy, as is any worthy artform. Here is the dance I have, he says, watch me.


Oh, yeah. It's easy moving.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I bore through the boredom

B It occurred to me the other night while making the five mile horseshoe of Central Park that while hundreds of runners were passing me, I was not passing anyone. Everyone was passing me and I wasn't staying up with them after they had gone by. Okay, there was that dog walker, but that shouldn't count should it? No.

So I have devised the following: The Royal Sport of Slogging and the Rules thereof:

Okay, the rules: you get one point for every person you pass who is 1)actually running - no points for passing walkers, persons using walkers, tourists groups gaping at the raccoon in the tree. You get no points for passing a speed walker either, although that's probably not going to happen anytime soon, not at my current speed. You also get no points for anyone with a handicap, victims of strokes, blind runner and the very ancient, besides which so far I haven't been able to pass any of them anyway.

2) You then rate your run by A) the distance and time you took and B) how many even more pathetically paced then you you passed.

Pay no attention to how many pass you, it's too depressing and yes, after long consideration because I do not want this to become some kind of weirdness in shorts, you lose any points you've earned if the other slogger re-passes you. (I was going to make it double points lost, but then I remembered last fall when I was racing that mother with the twins in the carriage (She Was Too Running!!) and I couldn't bear to finish a run with negative points. Maybe later, I'll be more confident.)

Also, you get no points if the slogger you are catching up to stops for a breather just as you get to him. I don't know why, that just seems right. Oh, and anyone who is obliviously finishing a long run and is on their last legs is also immune. (You don't want to go charging past someone who has been running for two hours in your first fifteen minutes and think it means anything. That would be crazy. or crazier, I'm not sure.) Of course, none of this means anything.

Here are the results for the remainder of the Monday night run --Total time 57 minutes- Number of sloggers passed ---three. I had a real shot at passing this girl in black shorts and a Jeeter tee-shirt but she turned off at 79th Street just as I was building up some good downhill speed. I know I would have caught up by the time we got to the Tavern on the Green. (Say hello to the doorman Adam. Mention my name.)

Wednesday morning six am

Four miles Forty nine minutes same score -- three.

The only good news is it was not the same three.