As some of you may or may not know, I've been trying to get back into shape by running. Despite my left knee, who is determined to go on strike and is currently in the process of unionizing with my other joints, I've made some progress. There is a lovely park, three long, avenue blocks up from my apartment where I've been passing some time arguing with my left knee (stubborn ass). Yesterday, I distracted myself by observing the park and mentally taking notes for this post. Not to say that yesterday was much different than any other day in the park, but I've been meaning to write a post so I paid a little more attention than before.
A small road circles the inside of the park with lanes marked for runners, bikers, walkers, and the occasional car. I usually try to run alongside it on the dirt path, but the path doesn't run all the way around, and besides, I trip on the tree roots with alarming regularity. The problem with running directly on the road, aside from the knee pain, is the people. Now I like people, they're interesting, and the park is a perfect haven for people watching. From families to kids who want to race you, to the average runner, the marathoner, the cyclists, the BBQ goers, walkers, soccer players, the musicians, the stoners and the cops, the park is seething with activity to watch. Within less than a mile, you'll pass seven baseball fields, two soccer fields, a band shell, several BBQs going at full tilt, a birthday party or two, two jungle gyms, a little forest where some bag-piper seems to have gotten lost, and a lake. That's less than a third of the park. True, it's a big place, but with the constant traffic, it seems smaller. I'm constantly dodging small children, strollers, runners, soccer balls, and bicycles (not to mention the tree roots).
I haven't even mentioned the horses yet. For about half the park, there are horse-back riders, although I have yet to have found the stables. I have yet to find an apt rider, either. While not everyone can use horses as a means of transport without looking like a frightened rag doll, most people I know can manage just fine. Of course my mother is an exception to that rule, but then I atribute that to the fact she was born in New York. I mean, there are probably a lot of rural areas with fine horse-back riders, but in the city? Oh, no, I nearly got trampled yesterday. I'm sorry, but seriously, if you are from the city, please refrain from putting your fellow park-goers at risk and stick to the transportation you were born to (see previous post).
Now as I've mentioned above, I love people, they're fun, interesting, and in the park I come across every language, culture, music, and ethnicity that this planet has to offer. This can be fun as well as educational. The problem I have, however, is that I've found I truely dislike humanity
is full of BBQ pits that run on lighter fluid alone (apparently charcoal is hard to get around these parts), humanity
is overflowing garbage cans, poluted lakes with the alluring aroma of rot, seeping port-o-poties, savage cyclist gangs (you know those people who get together to train for some race wearing the same outfits with the same really expensive bikes, who attack cars, children, and runners alike in their quest to finish first). Humanity
requires a cop at every corner, and a sound-track of emergency sirens. Humanity
tramples all the grass, kicks up a constant cloud of dust, and listens to your phone conversations (even though you're outdoors, talking at a normal tone, and wandering in circles to stay some distance away). Humanity
smells like overactive sweat glands, busted sewers, car exhaust, chain smoking, and rotting eggplant. Humanity
sounds like an emergency down every street, garbage trucks that run all day, screaming children, screeching trains, bagpipes clashing with African drums clashing with marching bands clashing with stereos clashing with stage performances.
This is the city.
I miss the smell of mountains, and the roar of the trees. That is my home.
What do you call home?