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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

“No Fair!”

I enjoy walking to the train station after a long day of work. Call it what you want; exercise, therapy or just plain crazy. It doesn’t matter what you call it because I enjoy it. The thing is though, I have a schedule to keep and this is built into it, so more often than not, I have to pick up the pace as I get close to Penn in order to make sure I catch my train. I know there’s another train soon enough after the one I’m shooting for, but that’s not an option because family life ensures that there’s always something waiting for me to do when I get home. No matter how pastoral the walk starts out, it’s usually a dash at the end.

I’m getting close to Penn, and of course walking at a quick pace now – as is everyone around me, because hey – this is New York City. This is the pulse of the city after all and everyone is in a hurry to get where they’re going. It’s just that - I - have a good reason; I’m trying to catch my train. I become aware of a “clop, clop, clop” coming up quickly on my left side and I respond in the same way that any respectable New Yorker would; I double my pace. She doubles hers: “clopity clop, clopity clop.” How do I know she’s a ‘she?’ Well, leaving political correctness behind in my wake as I redouble my pace, it’s the sound of her high heeled shoes and simple statistics that allow me to assess correctly who my competition is. By the way, she’s picked up her speed again; “clopity, clopity, clop, clop.” I see that the light in the crosswalk just ahead is about to change; good excuse - now I’m running to get across before it changes. So is she. We’re in an all-out dash as we get to the stairs - but I’m wearing sneakers and I take the stairs two at a time. Victory is assured!
“Hey! NO FAIR!” She cries. “I’m in HEELS, two at a time is just NOT FAIR!”

I stopped in my tracks; maybe you just had to be there in the moment. 

“That has to be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.” I say with a huge smile on my face. 

           She steps up to me and we walk together into Penn laughing about being New Yorkers; always in competition, always in a rush. I remark on how surreal it was to hear someone cry foul like that and actually acknowledge what we all know to be true. We spoke briefly, but sadly; we were heading to different trains.

Final decision: she won on points. The way this was supposed to play out was that I was supposed to win by a comfortable margin on account of the high heels. She was supposed to curse her heels in defeat, and I was supposed to accept victory graciously by not looking back and just going on my way. Neither of us was ever supposed to acknowledge the other. She broke through that thin veneer that we wear in public with such a bright ray of personality that I joyfully accept defeat. Even so; I walked away with a smile on my face, feeling as though I gained something greater in the end.

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“No Fair!”

I enjoy walking to the train station after a long day of work. Call it what you want; exercise, therapy or just plain crazy. It doesn’t ...

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