html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Backgammon or chess would be fine, too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Backgammon or chess would be fine, too.

I absolutely love McKinley Park. It is a beautiful park, with huge trees. But what I love even more is that every part of it is happily used, all the time. There are always kids in the play yard; people are constantly going in and out of the library; the basketball courts always have a game and a crowd. The tennis court lights are on late; the softball diamond has a volleyball game in far right field and me playing catch in far center field. Sometimes there are quinceañeras with a mariachi band, and that makes the whole park sing. There are almost always big families that bring barbecue and guitars; I don’t know whether I am more jealous of them or the old black men who set up a card table and play dominoes all day. I want to play dominoes all day at McKinley Park.

The running path around McKinley Park is just about a mile, because McKinley Park is perfect in every way. I have run it many times. The first time I ran it with Ali, I told her that you can get a ticket if you don’t slalom in and out of the trees planted in a line by the tennis courts. I also told her that there is an alligator in the duck pond, and every winter we all worry about it but someone always takes it home before the first frost and brings it back in the spring and if you watch carefully, sometimes a duckling will get sucked under before your eyes. I also told her that sometimes the guy who runs in wool slacks and loafers will call you a whore as he runs past. She didn’t believe me anymore by that point, but that last one was true.

Ali and I run counter-clockwise, as God intended. Ali said something about not caring which direction she runs in, but as a good friend and kind person, I pretended not to notice her shame. When Margie and I went walking, Margie made me walk clockwise, which puzzled me until I realized that she is lesbian and everything is backwards to her. It was too uncomfortable for me to do two laps the wrong way and Margie is open-minded, so we reversed direction for the second lap.

The McKinley Park running path is said to be a scene, but it has long bothered me that it is not a very well organized scene. I have been working on a plan for years, in which single people all run at the same time of day. Women would run counter-clockwise, as God intended; men would run clockwise, and I am sorry for the discomfort they must endure. But it will be worth it! Because then, instead of maybe running the same direction as the potential love of your life but a half-mile separate, never to see each other, you would be certain to see every potential honey at least twice per mile!

Only the fact that I cannot resolve how to include gay people keeps me from writing to the Bee and the News and Review to propose this plan. I just can’t figure it out. Would gay people run at the same time as the rest of the singles? If gay men run with the guys, they would only encounter women. If they run with the women, they’ll be checking out straight guys. We can’t have all gay men run the same direction; he would never meet the hot guy four minutes in front of him. If there were strong pitcher/catcher tendencies, we could have the types run in opposite directions, but I don’t know how strong those tendencies are and whether men want to declare them so openly. Lesbians pose the same difficulty. Like Brad Pitt, I am unwilling to participate in a system that benefits only straight people. My plan goes unimplemented as I run pointlessly in circles.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan said "you would be certain to see every potential honey at least twice per mile!".
NOT TRUE! Only if both runners were moving at roughly the same speed would you see them 2x/mile.
Bring your dominoes to dinner next week...
-TC

12:58 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

Gay men and women can both participate if they're willing to switch directions on each lap -- first lap counter, second clock, third counter...

Annoying, but worth it for true love.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous fasolamatt said...

So, have each person alternate running one lap clockwise and one lap counter-clockwise. That way everyone gets to see everyone both in a context where they are comfortable and in a context where they are uncomfortable (always nice data points to have when evaluating a potential relationship). cheers! fasolamatt

1:10 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

TRUE! If there is a large speed difference, you see the other runner twice in less than a mile, as you start to lap him. Maybe not the first mile, if you start as he has just passed you, but after that, at least twice. Some lucky miles, you will see him three times.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

If the guy runs at 500 miles per hour and the girl runs at 0 miles per hour, the guy will meet her once per lap. If he starts at the same spot as the girl, you could argue that he sees her once when he starts his lap and once again when he ends. However, if he runs 500 laps, he will only see her 501 times counting this way.

Megan, what do you mean by "as you start to lap him"? I don't understand the concept of lapping if you are going in different directions.
-----
Here is what I see as a bigger problem: has anyone here successfully picked up or been picked up while running? It sounds nice. You're both hot and sweaty and possibly both health conscious. I can see a pick-up working in the before-running and after-running states, but not in the during-running state.
-----
Can the gay people be included in phase II?

1:49 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

I love Megan. Her fantasy world is even broader and lovlier than mine.

P.S. I figured it out: the bisexual people can roll up one pant leg... :)

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Margie said...

Don't worry about the lesbians. They're on the softball field in the middle of the park. The gay men can run with the women and check each other out from behind, as God intended.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

If the gay people alternate directions strictly each lap, then similarly-paced people a half-lap apart will still never see each other. Perhaps some sort of randomized direction-switching would give a reasonably high probability of opposite-direction encounters. I kind of want to start simulating this....hmmmm

Or maybe a non-directional activity would be better. Perhaps the lesbians could have a pie contest.


Sorry :)

Dubin: LOL about the pant leg thing.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

I know!

Divide the track in half. Have the gay men stay on one side, switching directions every half-lap, and have the lesbians similarly stay on the other side. Straight people continue as before: women counter-clockwise, men clockwise around the entire track.

This has the following advantages:
If you see a woman on the gay-man side, you know she's straight.
Similarly, if you see a man on the lesbian side, you know he's straight.

If you see a man going counter-clockwise, you know he's gay.
Similarly, if you see a woman going clockwise, you know she's a lesbian.

Assuming people run long enough, every non-stationary person gets to see everyone they're interested in from at least one side.

I'm not sure what to do with the bisexual people; maybe they could just follow whoever strikes their fancy. With one pant leg up, of course.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Zubon said...

I enjoy living in a time when the assortive mating of gay joggers is a serious consideration for people. Entire centuries have gone by in which no one gave a passing thought to the problems of gay joggers.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Geesh, people. How about we have everyone run in place at a single agreed-upon point on the loop? That way, everyone will see everyone all the time.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

I think you've got to tweak the speeds a little bit. The May/December romances will have sorted it out naturally, but the rest of us will need to alter speeds for maximum exposure. The simulation running in my head has a lot of sack racers. I'm not sure how it's set up but it appears to be working.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good, but you have not gone far enough Megan. There should be different starting points for black people, jews, muslims. christians ,atheists...they must all run at the same speed so that they never have to see eachother or at least be out of talking range.
And the dogs? no dogs on the track. Except for the labradors because they are the kings.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

11:20 anonymouse:

I think we may have different goals for my plan.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous thelonious_nick said...

Megan, I'm concerned because if you run in the same direction on a curving track all the time, the muscles on one side of your body will build up faster than on the other side, and that can lead to injury. (I read about it in a running book once.) That you find it uncomfortable to run in the opposite direction from what you're used to leads me to believe it's already happened. I think you should run in the opposite direction at least every once in a while.

7:13 AM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

If the gay people alternate directions strictly each lap, then similarly-paced people a half-lap apart will still never see each other.

Not so. Assume that the starting point, where everyone starts and the gays change direction each lap, is point A. Halfway around the circle is point B.

Gay man X begins running clockwise at A. When X reaches B (a half-lap) Gay man Y begins running at at A. Half a lap later, X reaches A, and switches directions to run counter-clockwise. At the same time, Y is at B, still running clockwise. Clearly, they will pass (or, I suppose, collide head on, but let's assume they dodge) between A and B.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

t_n:

The running path is a mile, around a large park. The sides are straight; the corners are right angles. It is uncomfortable to run clockwise because it is WRONG, and I don't like to spite God's will like that.

However, Ultimate has left me asymmetric. You plant a pivot foot and lunge deeply on the other leg, and end up slightly one-sided. I notice that I am not equally flexible on both sides.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

jason,

The simulation running in my head has a lot of sack racers.

I believe you're putting the cart before the horse; they're supposed to be racing into the sack.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous hamilton said...

Okay, the pitcher/catcher tendencies may not work, but how about this:

gay folks will flip a coin each time before they jog. Heads, they run counter-clockwise (as G-d intended) *and* some distinguishing item (nothing flashy, just something that an observant person might notice, like a colorful wristband) on their left arm. Tails, run clockwise (as M-g-n intended, for her plan to work) and wear the distinguishing item on the right arm.

While individuals might miss each other on an individual trip, over time everybody gets to run past everybody else in the opposite direction. And the straights can wear a distinguishing thingie too, just on the *opposite* arm for their direction (don't want to leave them out of the latest fashion craze for joggers).

How's that?

10:30 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Distinguishing signs on clothing has some ugly precedents and I have already shown that I can't keep track of which signal means what. But, that reminds me of another story that I'll post soon.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Dubin said...

M-g-n's will, ha ha hahahhaha.

Ha.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

That was beautifully written.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

Lizardbreath, you're right:

Gay man X begins running clockwise at A. When X reaches B (a half-lap) Gay man Y begins running at at A. Half a lap later, X reaches A, and switches directions to run counter-clockwise. At the same time, Y is at B, still running clockwise. Clearly, they will pass (or, I suppose, collide head on, but let's assume they dodge) between A and B.

If they have the same turn-around point, they will see each other, yes. I was thinking of the case where X and Y start at A and B at the same time, go one lap (both going CW or both going CCW), then simultaneously reverse direction once they get to their respective starting points. If that's what's happening (if they have different turn-around points) then they don't necessarily see each other.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

thelonious_nick:
Megan, I'm concerned because if you run in the same direction on a curving track all the time, the muscles on one side of your body will build up faster than on the other side, and that can lead to injury.
Oh my God, Nick. Have you actually come up with a justification for the paternalism in Megan's original post?:
The first time I ran it with Ali, I told her that you can get a ticket if you don’t slalom in and out of the trees planted in a line by the tennis courts.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

That wasn't paternalism! That's because I always weave in and out of the line of trees, and I wanted to make sure she did too.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Why did you want her to weave? I was suggesting the park police mandated weaving so that you would work both your lean-left and lean-right muscles. And I am shocked you would misuse the authority of park security to manipulate a young woman.

5:33 PM  

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