In New York, people don’t talk to each other on the streets. This trait is learned very quickly as a result of the crazies. One particular breed of crazy is the comedy club promoter. They typically hang out in tourist areas, though not always, and usually have some kind of original catchphrase, like, “do you like to laugh?” If you say yes, they will give you a quarter card. If you try to be clever and say no, they will chuckle and give you a quarter card anyway. The correct way to respond is by staring straight ahead as if you did not see or hear them. This tactic, while seemingly cruel, is also useful when the homeless approach you. It’s not that I don’t want to help – it’s that the chances of having a homeless person attack you increase infinitely if you talk to them (see: fist fight I witnessed on the subway last week when a guy actually responded to a homeless person insulting him). However, today I broke that cardinal New Yorker rule.
I was downtown in the financial district meeting Boyfriend for breakfast (update: the route yesterday was about 6.5 miles, not 8, and he successfully completed it with a minimum of soreness and a maximum of walking). As I stood on the streetcorner (waiting to cross the street, you perverts – I’m not that desperate yet), I was approached by a guy maybe just a few years older than me. “I know you from somewhere…” he said, staring at me. I looked him up and down, making the snap judgment that if he was wearing a nice suit and was approaching me in a highly populated area, he probably wasn’t crazy. He also looked just slightly familiar. I wondered if he was a former colleague that I hadn’t known very well, and decided to introduce myself.
“Hi, I’m Laura,” I said, offering my hand to shake.
He snapped his fingers in recognition. “THAT’S it! You’re the marathon girl!”
I got pretty excited that my running blog now has me getting recognized on the streets of New York, and briefly wondered if I should invest in a better wardrobe… you know, for the paparazzi pictures. Then I noticed he was still staring back at me expectantly, so I tried to think how to respond. How much credibility would I lose if I pointed out that the marathons I’ve been doing lately aren’t really 26.2 but more of the America’s Next Top Model on VH1 variety?
Before I could respond, he prompted me: “Yeah, we met at the Disney marathon! We were on the bus to the start together!”
My brain finally clicked in recognition, and I chatted with him for a few minutes and gave him my contact information before we parted ways. I will admit that it was cool to have such a chance encounter in a city of 8.5 million, but with my delusions of fame and fortune dashed, I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
Maybe I ought to start doing something noteworthy like actually running marathons again.