Sandwichless in Brooklyn

22 Nov

Yesterday was my long run day.  Normally, I do it on Tuesday, but with the holiday coming, cranberry nut breads to make and mini-pumpkin maple cupcakes to bake, I decided to do it a day early.  I woke up full of dread, knowing I had to lace up my shoes and push myself out the door, through Brooklyn and Manhattan for a few hours of solo running time.  Naturally, I procrastinated by planning out all sorts of different routes on my Daily Mile site, trying to get as close to exactly 14 miles as possible.  And it was a damn good thing I did, as will soon become apparent.

At around 11:30ish, I took off down 4th Avenue.  The plan was to run over the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan and then turn around and run back to Brooklyn over the same bridge, before heading to Prospect Park to get a few more miles in and then home.  Everything went as planned for the first few miles.  When I entered the bridge, I was immediately reminded that I had made a poor plan… construction!  The bridge is already a total pain in the ass to run over, what with the walkers, the cyclers, the tourists stopping for no apparent reason, taking pictures of everything with no regard for those around them, thereby angering the cyclers who are armed with whistles and all other manner of noise maker to scare them back onto their designated side of the bridge.  It’s war up there.  Well, due to the construction — I would like to inform whoever is supposedly doing this construction that the bridge will not construct itself just because of the presence of construction-like materials — the walking path has become even more narrow, and even more complicated for the average runner, than before.  I headed into the danger zone.  Every time I passed a walker, I followed proper protocol and looked over my right shoulder to make sure I wasn’t getting in the way of a cycler.  For a while I was in the clear.  Then, almost halfway across, I started noticing a cycle every glance I took.  He wasn’t getting any closer.  What was he doing?  Was he a perv?  Was he just in really bad shape?  This made my advance even more complicated because I wasn’t sure whether at any moment he might just speed up, yelling angry epithets at me as he passed.  Therefore when passing people I was forced to run on the dividing line, so as to not obscure the cycler while not running into the walkers.  All was going well until (!!!) a women I was passing gesticulated wildly, hit my left arm with her right hand, causing her sandwich to go flying out of her hand and onto the floor of the bridge.  I glanced at the sandwich on the ground (it looked like it involved spinach, maybe) yelled a hurried “sorry!” over my shoulder, and continued on.  I felt really bad but what was I going to do?  Pick up and reassemble the sandwich?  It’s not like she would have eaten it anyway.  After a few seconds of what I imagine was shock and dismay over the loss of her lunch, she started screaming at me.  I sped up.  And wouldn’t you know it the damn cycler passed me on my right.  It’s like he planned the whole thing.

So, this blog post is a sincere apology to the lady on the bridge whose sandwich I knocked out of her hand, no fault of my own.  It was merely a terrible coincidence.  As a result of this unfortunate event, lady, I was forced to dig into my memory bank to rejigger my run (there was no way I was going to turn around and run back over that bridge and risk an encounter with you, now angrily sandwichless).  I had to do the thing I was trying so hard to avoid doing…I had to run on Canal Street from Centre to Bowery to get to the Manhattan Bridge.  Torture.  And then, because I picked up the pace to avoid having the remains of your disassembled sandwich hurled at my retreating back, I had a hard time slowing down, resulting in the near loss of the toenail on the middle toe of my left foot.  So you see, I too was punished as a result of the events that unfolded halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday at around noon.  I say we call it even.  And for the record, after my run, I even ate a sandwich in your honor, complete with spinach, and it was delicious.

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