Let’s cover three events that occurred in the same day.
First up: I’m at the track on a glorious December morning not too cold…muscles intact…sun streaming down. There’s a guy I see often. He’s a big, burly fellow who runs and always wears the brightest shade of orange. He looks like a big pumpkin, with biceps. The other memorable thing about him is his face. It’s all scrunched up, like one of the Lollipop Kids in The Wizard of Oz. Think boyish with a permanent scowl.
Today, rather than running, he was walking with his dog held tightly in his arms. A little speckled Bichon Frise he clutched protectively.
I of course had to stop. “Is he okay? “I said, genuinely concerned, “is he hurt?”
He looked at me up and down with maximum scrunch and said, ‘NO, HE’S JUST TIRED.”
Second thing: As I tooled around the track after deciding to change directions, a woman…50ish, blonde…vera BOCA RA-TON…was coming the opposite way. As we were about to pass one another like spandexed ships in the night, or day rather, she screamed, ‘Ya goin the wrong way…it’s counta clack-woise.”
“Yeah, and who the fuck are you, the traffic police?” Yes, I did. She woke my mother. “You gotta car parked…you gonna give me a ticket?”
She ran away. Good, I scared her. Where does she get off telling me that? If you were up there riding a horse pulling a circus trailer I’d never say a word. I’d simply run around you.
Then, as I’m coming off the track preparing to stretch on the bridge that leads you back to the street, there’s a couple having a huge fight. I attempt tp ignore them positioning myself at the far end. But it starts to get really out of hand. They were in their late 40s I’d say…clearly married the way they were speaking to one another. I say that, because I believe if you’re legally bound to the other, all bets are off verbal abuse wise.
“You infuriate me,” she kept saying. “No one Charlie pisses me off more than you, and I’m sick of it.”
“Yeah, well not as much as I am. I give you every fucking thing you want in the world and you’re still never fucking happy.”
“Well if you don’t like it, move the fuck out. I’ll even pack for ya.”
“YOU WILL…YOU WILL…GOOD..THEN TODAY’S THE DAY!”
Omigod, I’m thinking. They’re breaking up, right in front of me. No…what can I do..God put me here for a reason..I need to help.
“Excuse me,” I say like a sweaty Mother Teresa, “excuse me.” They both look at me like I have three heads.
“I don’t mean to butt in, but you’re just being so mean to one another. Couldn’t we backpedal a little?”
“Who the fuck are you,” the wife said, “Oprah?” Yes, she really said that, and I had to really stuff it so not to laugh.
“I’m no one really, I just can’t help feeling sorry you’re about to break up. If you don’t mind me asking, how long have you been together?”
“Are you writin a story?” the woman said (actually yes).
“Don’t talk to her like that. She’s just trying to be nice,” the guy said.
“You know Charlie…you and Oprah here can both go fuck yourselves.”
“Now now..please, the last thing I want to do is offend. It’s just, love and affection are so hard to find…take it from me…and none of us are perfect…and all I’m really suggesting is that maybe, along with what’s not so great, toss in what might be a little good.”
I got their attention.
I decided to address Attila The Hun. “Can you count on him if something is really wrong? I’m not talking the dish washer backing up, I mean something really upsetting. Do you have children?”
“Three,” the guy said.
“If something happens to one of them does he come rushing home?”
She doesn’t answer, but looks at him.
“And for all her alleged whining, does she take care of you say, when you’re sick…do you have nice clean shirts hanging on your side of the closet? Does she go to bat for you if you’re criticized?”
See, I knew all these answers already. No couple who fights that passionately hasn’t been through the mill with each other.
Just not possible.
That’s all I said. I returned to my end of the bridge like a good little troll, finished my last set of back push-ups and left.