Yesterday, with my new running shoes on, Imogen Heap blaring through my Ipod, I headed downstairs to walk-slash-run the park. ('Walk" being the operative word.) On the way down the stairs, I ran into the older man who lives right below us. We greeted each other. I removed one ear bud just in case he was in a talkative mood. He was.
He commented on what a nice day it was. He had just finished the 5 mile trail. Oh yeah? I said. I'm just about to do that myself. With an expression that denoted pain and exhaustion, he said something in return that ended with what sounded like the words: "at the end there." I chuckled, because at the very time of his response, Imogen kicked it up a notch in my left ear, and I had no idea what he said or what to say back to him. So I chuckled.
He says, No I'm serious! I laugh even louder as I head down the stairs. Good to see you! I say. Yeah, he says grumpily. As I stepped out of my building I realized he might possibly have said something like, "I fell to the ground and the ambulance came and they had to revive me at the end there." Or...."I collapsed from heat exhaustion at the end there." Or...."I accidentally ran into a cyclist and broke his neck at the end there." Or...."You know I live below you and you're a really loud walker and I wish you'd walk more quietly up there." It occurred to me that he might consider me a very evil person now.
It was a crowded day at the park. Not only were the meadows jammed with picnic-ers, the trail was jammed with runners and walkers and cyclists. Occasionally, I had to use quick thinking logic to maneuver through and avoid injury. At one point on the trail, a point where I was running down hill and uncontrollably gaining speed, I came upon two very slow walkers, strolling along on that beautiful afternoon. I couldn't run around them to the right due to the two cyclists approaching me from behind on my right. I edged toward the left curb to pass the dawdlers, and as I approached, at the very last minute, the couple (the girl being closest to the left curb) dawdled to the left, blocking my way. I had no choice. I had to do it.
"On your left." is what I meant to say, loud enough but calmly enough. Due to the downhill-ness and Imogen Heap blaring in my ears, and the fact that I'm in awful shape, what came out was,
"ON YOUR LEFT!!!"
The girl jumped a mile in the air, quickly stepped to the right, stopped, and then cringed her shoulders to her ears, waiting to be trampled flat.
I didn't run her over.
And later, the WALK-slash-run in me satisfied, I waited at the crosswalk to head home. A taxi pulled up, out of which a forty-something man in a suit appeared carrying two duffle bags. Imogen was finished blaring in my ears. This time I heard plainly.
"Wow, it's a gorgeous day!" he said, to my surprise, addressing me.
I attempted a polite chuckle to acknowledge the pretty day. (Apparently, I chuckle when I don't know what to say.) A cyclist sped toward us. I guess the forty-something man knew the cyclist and addressed him by name.
"George, it's so beautiful here!"
The taxi sped away but the forty-something man in the suit stood and looked at me.
"At my place in Southampton it was raining cats and dogs!"
I gave him a sarcastic smile through pursed lips that said, "You don't impress me. Get over yourself," looked away and crossed the street as fast as I could.
Very eventful day in the park.