July 11, 2012

The Neighbourhood Run - NYC Diaries

The best way to learn about a neighbourhood is to go for a run.

This week, I've been trying to get back into some sort of fitness routine so I went on a search around my area for a place to start. I found a pavement park path that wraps around a playground and various courts where tons of people hangout together; t
he "gatherers" as I've dubbed them. 

On my runs, I circle around sweaty babies in plastic swings, old 
gossiping dames, gents playing chess, skinny adolescent boys playing basketball, loners feeding pigeons, Asian senior citizens walking backwards and patting their torsos and dogs frolicking in a sand pit. 

Yesterday, there were these two tween girls sitting on a bench across from the basketball court pretending to be interested in their phones. Over and over, I ran by them and we stared at each other. 

"Oh man, they must think I'm such a loser," I thought.

There I was in my embarrassing getup that included a baggy t-shirt, a florescent pink hat and inside-out running tights (that I noticed were inside out when I left the house). Over and over I passed them and I thought, "Why do I care if these girls think I'm cool?!" 

Yet, it's summer and what I would give to be twelve again and sit on a park bench with my best friend giddy at the anticipation, at the brief possibility that the ball would roll over. We would have to decide who would go grab it and for a brief moment interact with them. The moment that would lead us to giggle uncontrollably and walk back to our parents' house and eat ice cream and talk about it, until the next day when we would run into them again while everyone pretended it didn't happen.

And then I miss my childhood. 
And my best friend.
And maybe, just maybe I want these girls to think I'm cool, so one day they are dorky enough to put on their florescent hats and run around the boys playing basketball instead of just staring at them.