Mr. Grooism

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January 23, 2004 - 7:51 p.m.

Close Encounters of The Unfortunate Kind

Grooism #12: Crosstown Traffic

Just after college I was working at a mini-storage site on Manhattan's Upper East Side in a bit of a high-crime neighborhood. One night I worked especially late and was in a rush to get crosstown to the subway, so instead of walking a block over to go up 58th Street, a busy two-way main thoroughfare, I took 57th Street instead, a side street.

Walking along this deserted NYC street I spied a Camaro with someone just idly sitting behind the wheel of the car; as I passed the guy got out and fell into step right behind at my heels!

Suddenly I heard his jacket go ZZZZIPPPP!!!!

At that moment a truck came racing down the street, so I purposefully darted across the street directly into the path of the oncoming truck! It almost hit me, but the guy just couldn’t follow, and I jogged along beside the truck while I could keep up, looking around furiously.

Finallly I saw the guy glance around bewildered and then walk back to his car. I kept running, laughing like a maniac until I got to the subway.

As my friend Arthur always used to say, What do we learn from this Larry?

Don’t Ever Isolate Yourself and Be Ever Wary!!!

Grooism #13: Central Park

I absolutely looooove jogging in Central Park, but a few years ago I seriously misjudged how huge the park really is.

I used to go jogging after work and often ran in the dark with hundreds of other joggers on a well-lit roadway closed to vehicular traffic that time of night.

Now, picture this for proportions: you take a large dinner table, place a very large roasting pan longways at one end, and then a small cereal bowl inside the roasting pan at the end of the table - there's a point to this!

Central Park has a southern jogging path (cereal bowl), an extended jogging path (roaster) and a perimeter road around the entire park (table edges) that all intersect and lead into one another. Got the size difference?

One night I was doing so well with my jogging (though it was getting kind of late) that I thought I'd push myself and jog the extended jogging route (roaster). Trouble is, never having done this route before I missed the turnoff without noticing, and didn’t quite realize I was jogging the outer perimeter road (table edges) heading uptown.

Yeah, it took me quite a while to realize this, it sort of seemed like the route was longer than it should, but I didn't know for sure so just kept running.

Right about the time I decided I must have long since missed the turnoff, I abruptly noticed for the first time that there were no other joggers anywhere to be seen. This is not good.

I really wasn't sure what to do! I should have turned around, but figured that I came this far, I'm probably nearing the top of The Park by now (I wasn’t), so I might as well just keep going!

I was maybe halfway to the top of the park, and the more I jogged alone, the darker the road was becoming, and the more I thought about that NYC cardinal rule, Never Isolate Yourself (see previous Grooism). Now I was exhausted, as out of shape as I was I had never run this much before, so I stopped along a cliff wall, rested a few minutes, then picked it up again.

Run, run, run, I finally made the turn eastward along the top of the park and eventually turned south again, when suddenly off to the side, from the side streets another runner entered the park…

…and, ummm, hmmm he was on a direct course to exactly intercept me...

...and he was not in the least dressed for working out, but was wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans!

Yikes! I just started sprinting, dead-tired as I was, so I would at least get ahead of him, when rounding a bend ahead of him, I saw hiding on the side of the road...

...off the path and sort of behind some trees...

...a NYC police car!!!

Well, he was a runner but no jogger, because when he saw them too he turned around and ran the other way out of The Park!

Oddly enough, I didn't go to the police car, I just kept running full speed for as long as my exhausted body could stand it, then back to a jog, then started walking as I met up with other real joggers again, then collapsed onto a bench!

What do we learn from this Larry?

Don’t Isolate Yourself! Don’t Isolate Yourself!! Don’t Isolate Yourself!!!

UPDATE!

See comments below for the punchline, thanks to Eric for the link to the Central Park Map!!!


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