It was short because I haven’t been running much. Needless to say, my elbows sweated a lot last night.
The treadmill I chose had no one running to my left, but did have someone on it to my right. I usually try to go for the totally open treads, but this was the best I could do at 5:30pm on a Tuesday.
As I got on the ‘mill and was about to put my headphones in, I heard the guy next to me start talking to the person on his right. It was at that point that I knew I wouldn’t be putting my headphones in; this was going to be entertaining.
So, I learned two main things about the man next to me last night (along with one thing about his friend).
Let’s start with his friend.
I learned last night that his friend is his “dog.” I know this because he constantly called him that. I wouldn’t have thought this strange, actually, except that the man he kept calling his “dog” was an overweight, late-sixties, white guy. Not the person I’d stereotypically consider someone would address as “dog.”
But, there it is; he was this other guy’s “dog.”
The first thing I learned about the guy running next to me is that he originally came for Puerto Rico. Born, raised, still has family there.
When he goes back home to Puerto Rico he stays at his brother’s house. His brother lives near the beach (which, since PR is an island, is not as impressive as the man wanted it to sound).
He also weighs 158 lbs. I know this because he was telling his dog how he had just weighed himself. Actually, he made it into a game that was fun for almost no one.
“Guess how much I weigh, dog.” (Silence) “No, guess.”
His dog was reluctant to guess. Guys, by and large, don’t like this game. It’s not that we don’t want to get it wrong or are afraid of offending, it’s mostly that we just don’t care. The relative mass of the person next to me is only important if I’m trying to orbit them.
His dog didn’t answer, so he offered an unprompted response. \
“158 lbs, dog. Pretty good. I mean, I was wearing my shorts and shoes when I weighed, so I’m probably about 10 pounds less than that, you know what I’m saying?”
Well, perhaps if he had jumped in the pool and then weighed himself that would be kind of true, but his mesh shorts and running shoes weren’t adding multiple pounds to his weight. This, though, is where I learned the second thing about our friend: he is extremely concerned that the people he talks to are not clear on the exact meaning of his words.
I know this because he followed up every statement with, “You know what I’m saying?”
Another example from the conversation, “I lose weight when I go to Puerto Rico, you know what I’m saying dog?”
My response would have been, “Well, on the surface I think I do, but since you followed it up with a phrase inquiring if I need clarification I’m afraid I might. Can you present your statement in a different way that might help me understand?”
His dog’s response was silence.
So he followed up again with more information about his island weight loss secret.
“It’s ’cause it’s effing hot down there, you know dog? I’m standing for the bus, I’m sweating. I’m shopping at the market, I’m sweating. Puerto Rico is effing hot, you know what I’m saying, dog?”
Because of my basic grasp of world geography, I did know what he was saying. PR’s proximity to the equator makes it’ effing hot.
“And it’s ’cause I run 17 miles on the sand, dog, you know what I’m saying? 17 miles.”
I tried to run on the sand once and quickly changed my mind and went for a swim. If we were meant to run on sand they’d make running tracks out of loose sand. We’re not meant to run on sand.
Or run in general.
It was at this point that I looked over at his treadmill and saw that he had gone 3.4 miles and looked like he might pass out soon. Perhaps he hadn’t been to PR in a while as his 17 mile sand regiment didn’t seem to be helping him on the treadmill.
Finally his friend spoke up, “Sand running is hard.”
“You said it, dog, you know what I mean? This running sucks, too, dog. You know?”
And then, silence.
Yes. Yes I do.