Tag Archives: Prospect Park

Yes, Skeevy Cycler, That was Me who Called you an Asshole in the Park Today

25 Mar

So there I was blissfully* running during the late March weather event when, after topping the Prospect Park Hill (which I maintain is much harder than Cat Hill that all the Central Park runners are always griping about), I heard two men behind me, rapidly approaching.  I figured they must be on bikes.  I figured correctly.  Given that it was windy, and they were on the move, some of what they were saying was a little garbled but what I heard was something along the lines of

…blah, blah, blah…I would love that ass for Christmas…blah, blah, blah…so hot.

Obviously, I was annoyed.  Also, my ass happened to be the only ass in their line of vision and it was, at that moment, safely nestled inside a pair of CW-X compression pants.**   Anyway, it was only for a split second that I thought they might have been addressing their comments my way.  More than likely, they were just talking bullshit (albeit offensive bullshit) and my presence was completely coincidental.  Either way, I wasn’t planning on saying  anything at all and instead had resigned myself to just rolling my eyes aggressively and angrily mumbling to myself when I saw who one of the cyclers was.  It was the Skeezy Cycler.  I have intended to write about this guy forever because he has been pissing me off for years, literally.  I bet other women who make a habit of running in Prospect Park know who I am talking about.  He rides around with big groups of other cyclers, wears a red and black tri-suit, has longish brown-grey hair and looks to me like he might be Argentinian, of the Italian variety.  Skeezy Cycler checks out nearly every female runner he sees looping the park, multiple times if you are out there long enough and he happens to lap you.  He has been doing this to me for-fucking-ever and I have been holding a grudge.  Well, when I noticed that one of the dudes was none other than Skeezy Cycler (which I knew because he obviously checked me out for the millionth time), I literally could not help myself.  My mouth went off before I knew what was happening and I said, somewhat loudly,

You guys are assholes.

They then slowed down their bikes, looked over at me and exchanged a perplexed

What did she just say? Did you hear that?

and then, thankfully, rode on.  I was not really up for an altercation right then seeing as how it was snowing and I was cold, but I would have finished what I started had it been necessary.  Anyway, once it became clear they weren’t coming back I came to the realization that the man who had secretly been my nemesis for like half a decade, was now actually my real life nemesis, like, out in the open.  And he would know it was me in the future because I, like him, am hard to miss.  I am not distinguished by my leering but, instead, by the hair that goes down to my ass. Not common.  So I thought to myself why not go stealth and get a hair cut?  But then I was like, why let the Skeezy Cycler win?  Don’t cut your hair to hide from the likes of him.  But then I thought, yeah but what if he calls me a bitch next time he sees me.  Or, worse yet, what if he spits on my when he passes me by!  This might seem an outlandish fear except that it has happened to me before.  Not by him but still. Once you’ve been spit on (twice, in my case, and by the same guy) you are never really the same.  Anyway, ultimately I decided, no, maybe he would be an adult about it and ride up alongside me and say, kindly,

Was that you who called me an asshole the other day?

And then I would say the following:

Yes, it was me who called you an asshole the other day and here’s why.  I have been seeing you for years around the park and I have noticed that you skeezily check out most female runners as you ride by and you know what?  That is not flattering.  That is rude.  We are not out here to impress you.  We are out here clearing our minds, getting in shape, training for a race.  We are working hard on our bodies to feel good and to look good, mostly for ourselves but also for our partners.  Maybe you think it is harmless what you are doing, over and over again, but let me tell you it isn’t.  Some women might not notice, but for others of us, it pisses is off and insults us and makes us feel slightly less human.  We deal with it out on the streets all day, every day, so let us have the park as a zone of safety.  So yes, that was me that called you an asshole and I meant it, I just feel a little bad I caught your buddy in the crossfire.  So, next time you see me, you can wave, or say “hey Rebekah” or “nice pace” or whatever encouraging comment you come up with and I will wave back and return the favor, but for crying out loud stop making me refer to you in my non-running life as the Skeezy Cycler.  Stop making me dread seeing you.  In short, stop being such a dick.  For crying out loud, stop staring.  Staring is rude.

*Actually, it was hailing so not-so-blissfully

**That picture is provided so you can understand why I might have felt slightly uncomfortable about their comments. Furthermore, at this time I would like to point out that I bought my pair of these pants on sale and they were worth every penny.  I would even pay full price for them!  To be honest, I used look sideways at people who wore them but they are oh so awesome for cold weather running.

The day I beat an ambulance by foot

1 Nov

On Tuesday evening, the day after Hurricane Sandy hit, I went for a run.  The subways were still out and I was dying to see Lower Manhattan without lights.  I hoofed the 3 miles over to the Brooklyn waterfront, seeing downed trees and scattered debris on every side street.  I reached as close to the water as the Parks Department would allow, stood on a big block, and just looked.  What a strange sight it was. The city that never sleeps, dark.

The following day I decided to take a different route.  I was interested to see what kind of damage had been done to Prospect Park, a place I have run through countless times in all kinds of weather.  My boyfriend pointed out that running through the park, what with all the severed branches and uprooted trees, was probably not the safest thing.  What if the wind blew and a branch fell?  What if a tree, already dangerously leaning, lost its last bit of support from the soil and toppled over?  I decided to run alongside it, glancing in every now and again to see how different it looked.  So, I set out.  I ran towards Atlantic Avenue, made a turn on Flatbush and started running uphill towards the park, dodging walkers and trick-or-treaters along the way.  The traffic was insane.  I had seen photographs of highways turned parking lots all over the East Coast.  I had, myself, taken a photograph near my house with cars lined up for miles in the middle of the day.  Who knows how long the rush hour drivers on Flatbush had been trying to get where ever they were going but I’m sure it was hours.  Then I heard it:  a siren.  I looked over my shoulder and saw an ambulance for New York Methodist hospital trying to make its way through the mess.  I kept running, expecting the ambulance to overtake me any second.  I figured people would pull their cars to the side, allowing space for the ambulance to get through.  Only, people didn’t.  I stopped and looked, the ambulance wasn’t really getting anywhere.  People were just sitting, stubbornly, not willing to give up their hard-earned space on the road, ignorant to the existence not only of the ambulance, but of the person requiring immediate medical care.  There was nothing for me to do, I kept running.  I got a few blocks further and realized that, again, the ambulance had not overtaken me.  A man driving a Senior Care ambulance turned on his lights, got out of his vehicle, and directed the Methodist ambulance through a busy intersection.  The ambulance, finally, passed me.  I started running again and quickly overtook it.  This happened several more times.  Me stopping at a light, the ambulance passing me, me getting the okay to go again, running up the hill, and easily passing the ambulance by foot.  It was heart breaking.  I could only imagine the frustration of the EMTs trying to get to their destination, and the anguish being felt by the family of whoever it was that needed such urgent care.  I couldn’t believe that, after what this city has been through, people were so concerned with getting where they were going that they were able and yet completely unwilling to allow the ambulance to pass.  It was crazy. I stood on a corner next to another woman, in shock.  We looked at one another and just shook our heads, she couldn’t believe it either.  I thought about whether there was anything I could do, tried to imagine myself directing traffic.  Every scenario I thought up ended in disaster, an even bigger traffic jam and me squashed in the middle of the road being cursed by angry drivers.  I continued on.   As I finished my run up Flatbush and saw the ambulance pass, only to get stuck in the mess that is Grand Army Plaza, I quietly voiced the hope that it could get where it was going on time and that none of my loved ones need urgent care over the next few days…they might not be able to get it.