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Running Total On:2006-06-23 08:13:02

I run most mornings starting at around 3:45 local time (and that doesn't sound quite so crazy if you convert it to my birth time zone. Then it works out to be 9:45 in the morning British Summer Time; so just imagine that I never bothered to change my watch when I came here and you won't have to look askance at me---well at least not for that). As you might imagine, at that totally non-crazy and indeed cool time of the morning my run is just a dull repetitive forty-five minutes of pumping legs and elevated heart rate and sweat---and nothing else much. I don't meet many people who aren't whizzing past in cars (nor, really, that many who are). In fact I still think fondly of the time, three months ago, when I passed an hispanic man who said hello to me, and the time, maybe a couple of months before that, when I saw a pretty girl walking with a cell phone to her ear who didn't.

So my runs are definitely not hotbeds of excitement.


Running this morning was different: I passed a car broken down and sideways, right across and blocking one of the southbound lanes on Jupiter just north of 14th. And when I say 'broken down' I suspect I'm being just a bit euphemistic because, judging by the neat circular skid mark, the driver had tried with little success to execute one of those dramatic slidey U-turns so beloved of a certain sort of Hollywood movie: in the event all he had managed to do was to removed one of his (could it have been a her? No way! No, sorry girls forget about it, I'd put money down that this was a testosterone-related incident) one of his front tyres and burst the other one. And then our putative he had abandoned the poor abused thing with its flashers flashing pathetically and in rather the wrong direction to be seen by approaching drivers. And, as another bit of potential excitement, the road happens to curve a bit there in just the wrong way for avoiding surprises.
"Ooooh! Ooooh!" I thought as I ran past (not of course slackening my pace at all---I do have priorities) "There's excitement for you."

And then not quite a hundred yards further on I noticed, a new and not in the least broken-down car speeding (as they so often do at that time of the morning on Jupiter) blindly towards the one that was. So, overcome with a fit of uncharacteristic good citizenship, I stepped off the sidewalk a bit and waved my arms at him (this one I know is a him and the reason will become apparent in just a mo'), vigorously miming slowdowny warnings and pointing---"Danger! Danger ahead, Will Robinson!"
And would you believe the stinky bugger---he shouted a swearword at me (or more accurately a swear-phrase).
I mean there I was trying to save his life, or at the very least a substantial rise in his insurance rate, and selflessly lowering my heart rate and ruining my lap time to do it, and rather than falling to his knees to heap praise upon me, all he could do was to jump to the most negative conclusion, whatever that must have been, and to then shout his mouth off about it.
Fortunately, to the eternal benefit of my problematical-at-best soul he didn't then grant my half-forming wish that he would turn his head to continue to abuse me (maybe speeding up a little more as he did, just to spite me) and smash right into the U-turn victim thus ending his short, mean and brutish career as a crash test dummy.
Of course since I had pavements to pound and time to make up I didn't wait around to see how things ended: I did see his break lights light as he went round the curve, but I didn't hear the guilty pleasure of a squeal followed by a loud crash so I suppose justice has now completely lost its poetry.

Ahh! In the old days it wouldn't have been so whimpy, in those days Justice was poetic, probably even rhymed and scanned. Why I remember oh twenty years or more ago seeing a woman driver who was a) clearly in the wrong since she'd been cruelly prevented from running a stop sign by the approach of someone legitimately proceeding along the main road and b) was then so road enraged at the inoffending other driver that whilst screaming at him and shaking her fist at him she drove straight into the back of one of those vast road-worky trucks; at low enough speed not to be hurt, at least physically, but just fast enough to give Justice a bloody sonnet. And I didn't even wish for it...


Cheerio for now
from Richard Howland-Bolton.


Either it's a classic example of how the Fates are out to get at me, or it reveals an unexpected audience for these essays (one with a weird sense of humour, a lot of time on their hands and almost infinite resources) but the very next run after this was broadcast I saw: first a pack of dogs cavorting in the middle of Jupiter and interfering with the traffic (OK there were two dogs, which is a small pack, and one car which had to slow down slightly) and then another pack (this time five or six) of teenagers just chillin' (I hope that was what they were doing) who all said hello to me.
Now how exciting was that run!?!?

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