Lately, when I run, I’ve been taking a shortcut home through the Great Lawn. It’s a vast swath of green where Central Park holds most of her concerts.
At 7 a.m. it’s more or less gone to the dogs, in a nice way. Every breed imaginable is running and sniffing, their owners in tired tow trying to keep up…leashes over their shoulders, pockets filled with treats. Dogs are allowed to roam free till 9 o’clock and merrily make the most of it.
As I come careening through, I need to slow up so not to have a canine collision since doggies rule the roost. You’ve heard pedestrians have the right of way? So do they at that time of day.
Each morning without fail, I encounter a Border collie toting a dilapidated pink Frisbee. He heads right for me making me think he wants to play, so I stop, reach for the Frisbee just to have him take off, I imagine, laughing his head off.
She fell for it again.
After several days of bait and switch, I decide to turn the tables. Today I didn’t stop, just kept on running, so like any man who likes the hunt, he chased me. How do I know he was a male? Let’s just say he was quite visually obvious in that department. His owner, a placid looking girl wrapped in a maroon peacoat, doesn’t blink an eye..clearly she’s seen this silly sideshow before.
He gets in front of me circling my legs, actually for the first time, letting the Frisbee drop, but I go around him whistling a Carly Simon song…you’re so vain…you probably think this song is about you…apt I thought…and then stop short grabbing the Frisbee. Boy was he surprised when I took off while he cantered hardily alongside me.
Satisfied getting my playful revenge, I gave in and said, “Okay pal, let’s see you go long and wide,” pitching his wet, slimy totem across the Great Lawn where he jumped elegantly in the air catching it in full leap.
His owner watched like a coach clocking her player.
I turned to her and said, “He’s really quite the athlete, isn’t he?” And she answered, “Yes he is…that’s why we call him, Frisbee Jack.”
I smiled thinking, what a great name…taking off towards home.