Sunday, August 20, 2006

Keeping my virginity

HAH. I bet you didn’t expect me to leave tantalizing clues of future blog posts and then disappear entirely for weeks, did you! I sure am funny!

Or… not. Sorry y’all. But I have been a busy bee. Soon after the last post, I skipped the country on a jet plane (gotta say, much nicer than a bush taxi), heading from bucolic Africa to bellicose Israel. (Look at me with the big words. I=smart!)

Except really, the whole “war” thing was very much a non-issue. I was there for a family wedding, and was therefore blissfully politically unaware. I spent my time running between buffet breakfasts at multiple hotels (visiting all the cousins—I slept on a friend’s couch), hanging out at various pools (see above re: cousins’ hotels) and enjoying the life of a non-African city (air conditioning, like EVERYWHERE! Shocking lack of sand/dirt roads! Not a single power cut in 10 days!). But aside from that, Israelis are fairly used to dealing with war, and in Jerusalem, the situation felt very far away. Much of the north of the country has been evacuated, so a lot of hotels are full of refugee Israelis. And, since military service is obligatory, a lot of my cousins’ friends had been called up from the reserves. But in terms of direct danger, not so much.

So, back to the subject at hand. I have to say, I like this whole “poll” thing. I may have to do it all the time. I heart feedback.

That being said, votes were…. Kind of all over the place, really. But based on my highly scientific statistical analysis, (by which I mean, given what I feel like writing about) the winners are B) Hash House Harriers and D) Naomi=fashion queen.

And so we begin.

Now, to be honest, I hadn’t ever given it much consideration, but upon reflection, there are several things I don’t want to hear when joining a new running group.

One is: “you’re cool with taking it easy right? We want to keep it around 8 minute miles.”

Because I am not fast, you see. But don’t worry, that is not something that the Hashers said.

Here is something they did say: “Hahaha! You have new shoes! Look everyone, the new girl has brand new shoes! Ice! Ice!” Everyone else: “Ice! Ice!”

Because, you see, Rose has just bought a new pair of Asics. Which is apparently weird and wrong, and not a reason to start dorking out about brands and models and how many miles you got out of your last pair and whether it’s wrong to think the red is really, really cute, even though, no, you didn’t pick them because of that, but seriously, how cute are these running shoes?

And here is something else they said: “Are you a virgin?” Followed by “Don’t worry. You’ll learn all the songs in no time!”

There is oh so much wrong with that. By “virgin”, of course, the guy in question meant “is this your first time with this group.” And if there’s one thing I love, it’s organized groups with their “in” lingo and jargon. But whatever. I knew what he meant.

No. Far more problematic was the second statement. I will learn the songs? Learn the SONGS? I thought he was kidding. I laughed. He did not.

And that is when I became sure that me and the H-3 were through. And so when the organizer came over to ask us to pay in for the beers (virgin boy: we’re drinkers with a running problem! He laughed. I did not.) which we hadn’t known about, he said, ‘don’t worry about it, just remember for next time, we simply nodded and smiled. (Naomi and Rose: Shyah. As if.)

Now here is where you’re all, “Sheesh. Get over yourself. They’re just trying to have fun. We’re not all running marathons out here.”

And I’m with you. And in the right mood, maybe I’d have found the campy lingo and the non-threatening “we don’t like running either!” thing charming.

But I wanted a running group. You know, people to run with. For the running. With other people.

And the trip-H? No running. Standing. By 6:30 (after a rendez-vous set for 5:30 “on the dot”), all we had managed to do was amble from the meeting point to mill around at someone’s house 5 minutes away.

Even that I could have forgiven. Note to self: next time show up very late. Done. Right? Because eventually, we’re going for a run.

Sure. A “run”. Really? Not so much. Here's what happened: the son of a group member had marked out a route with chalk hash marks, and off went the group down a hill. Rose and I followed.

Before we knew what happened, there was shouting and laughing and everyone turned around and started running back. And then at the top of the hill, they fanned out looking for the next mark.

This wasn’t a run. It was a scavenger hunt. The marks were hidden all over, and you had to run around blindly until you found one.

And so when the group fanned out, Rose and I fanned in the direction of home. And when we heard the shouting that the hash mark had been found all the way over the other side, we just kept going, laughing hysterically.

Naomi: Don’t look back, Rose!
Rose: They’re coming after us.
Naomi: They’ll never catch up. Run, Rose, run!

And so we ran. They shouted, (guys! It’s this way, guys! You guys!) and we waved (so long suckers!).

We decided to go on our own route, hoping desperately not to run into the Harriers.

Of course, not ten minutes later, the group ran by, chanting “Ice! Ice! Ice!” (because of Rose’s new shoes. Hilarious!) and we refrained from chanting “you’re all fucking crazy!”

So I’m still a virgin. And, with any luck, a virgin I will stay.


Blogger Scooter said...

Whaa? You didn't know that misbehavior is the paradigm for the h3'ers. But I was damned grateful for the beer at mile 21 of Boston when everything had gone to hell. It was one of the real smiles in my day. You'll learn...even if you never run with them again.

9:20 PM  
Blogger jeanne said...

yep, that's the hash harriers way. I heard about them during endless training runs last year with my running non-partner, who preferred the hashers, and was always trying to get me to go with her. except? it sounded exactly as you describe ... plus, i hate beer.
apparently,it's a remnant of the Empire.

12:40 PM  

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