On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Most mornings, I run about 4.5m with Emilie at 6:15. We live two subway stops apart (about a mile or so, but with a big hill in the middle) and so she'll take the train up to me, I'll meet her at the station, we'll head over to Riverside Park, and we'll run. We end at the subway station by her house, where I jump on the train.

I know this sounds convoluted, and it is. It would be easier to meet in the middle, but that would involve us both needing to tackle that hill and me needing to wake up 15 minutes earlier. That's not happening. (Also, the neighborhood between us is a little sketch, and it's dark when we meet.)

Today, I got on the train after my run and stood there, playing Words With Friends like an addict a champ. There was a crazy guy sitting near me, but I wasn't paying any attention. He was really starting to get into it, yelling craziness about how he was going to "pull your skirt down to show you, how could you do this to me, I've done it before you, know, I'll just pull that skirt down, you'll be standing there in your panties, then you'll take him seriously!" This went on for several minutes, complete with skirt pulling down pantomiming.

I very surreptitiously looked around the train - yep, I was the only one wearing a skirt. The crazy guy was talking to me! He was saying all of this in a menacing voice, too.

Eventually he reached out and touched my arm. I jumped, and turned and glared at him, which launched him into a fit of hysterical laughing/yelling. I told him, "Do NOT touch me," to which he replied, "I didn't touch you. God touched you! In your heart. That was god."

Point being: why on earth don't I run the mile home after saying goodbye to Emilie? I can handle a 5-6m run in the morning. Tomorrow and from now on, I'm running home after saying goodbye to her.


  1. If you run the extra mile, the bad guys win. Bernie Goetz didn't run no extra mile.

    Seriously, stay safe. This is a scary story.

  2. Just be careful in that sketchy neighborhood you'll have to cross. Okay? :)

  3. Exercise. Wouldn't that be a great play in Words With Friends. As a sometimes gym visitor myself, Words With Friends seems a more appropriate time-waster than, say, television. Bottom line, my butt just gets bigger. Distracted by WWF and TV. I will always justify my TV time as long as I can tie it back to wordplay. Blame my love of Scrabble, WWF and TV trivia for me creating my blog and the anagrams I invent. Still, all these distractions keep me away from the treadmill.

  4. I took one hour of Krav Maga, so I feel perfectly willing to do what I need to do. The homeless guy did actually make some comment about how he was scared of me because my legs looked more muscular than his. Damn straight!

  5. As freaky as crazy panties guy sounds, I had to laugh at the fact that he wasn't really threatening bodily harm but was threatening to pants you. You know, like 6th grade, when kids ran around and yanked down each other's pants and showed their underwear and yelled "Pants!" Oh. Maybe that was only my town. But seriously, I would have been completely freaked out. I've been the object of audible on-the-train derision but I've never had anybody threaten to unclothe me... I would feel safer running under almost any circumstances, barring, say, a neighborhood gunfire volley.

  6. Eww!
    I was a transit-rider for years (before telecommuting) and have seen some weird things happen. But that takes the cake for creepy.

    Maybe start carrying pepper spray whether you run or ride?

  7. Oh, that's creepy. Super creepy. Get yourself some pepper spray and run home, especially if the sun's up by that time anyway.

  8. Holy crap. That's awful! Ugh, I can't stand the fact that there is just so much crazy in New York. Where does it come from? How does it sustain itself? You should definitely start running home.