One of NYC’s Biggest Secrets
(All photos uncredited)
I’m a typical New Yorker. I notice shit even though I may seem oblivious.
Take “the jogger” in Central Park. He’s this guy whom I always see. When I say always—it’s weird because I don’t think about him much, that is, until I see him.
You remember the film I made from my backyard on 4th of July weekend? I saw him then. He came jogging by and like a dumbass I forgot to film him.
Or did I . . .
In general I would never notice this guy. He likes to jog in Central Park like tons of other people. Only there have been many times I’ve seen him twice in the same day, and he’s out there in all types of weather, at all hours of the day and night.
Nobody runs in the park after dark except him. I’ve even seen him on his bike, both near the park and on the streets uptown.
When he runs or rides his bike it’s always in the same slow, methodical pace.
Yesterday afternoon I saw him again, only this time my first thought was to take a picture. As you know, I try to carry my camera, so I can take photos for you.
I dropped my knapsack, and pulled out my camera. But as I started to lift the camera, the jogger looked directly at me, and he didn’t look away.
This is the first time we made eye contact. It gave me pause to say the least.
He’s a white guy about 5’11”, 160 pounds. He has pin-straight-and bowl-cut short brown hair, and a small nose and mouth with eyes that are set close together though not beady. He always wears spandex pants and his thighs bulge like those of a running back.
A moment passed and even now I can’t say for certain why I didn’t take the picture.
The whole time as he jogged closer, he stared at me. I wish I could say what was going through my head, but as I remember it, I was frozen in place. It was like I was obeying him.
When I finally went to take the photo, he was real close, and he says, “You don’t want to do that.” The best way I can describe his voice is that it sounded like someone had tweaked the base and treble, and added a little reverb. It sounded like a radio-voice.
And with his words not only didn’t I take the picture, I also didn’t say a thing–
You have to understand, on a regular basis my mouth opens and fifty words pop out before I think about what I’m saying. And sometimes before I take a step, my hands and legs start moving like I’m bugging out. I don’t know why I do that but my lady friend says I’m like a windup toy.
It’s hard to either tell me to shut up or to have me stand still. Yet here this guy says this, and I listen to him like he’s my buddy, Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Not only that, but I dropped my freaking hand with the camera in it and stared like a zombie.
After he passed it took a few seconds until I got a hold of myself and went after him.
Now I’m not in the best of shape; I’m not in the worst of shape either. I play Frisbee, softball, and even soccer, if you can believe it. I’m kinda a closeted soccer fan by default–the guys at work with are all fanatics–
The jogger picked up his pace. So did I, but for some reason I couldn’t catch up to him, even after I started sprinting. The kicker was that he wasn’t looking back. (On a side note: you ever watch the Yankees play interleague ball? It’s the only time American League pitchers get to bat… Is it just me or when Andy Petite runs, doesn’t it look like he’s got loads of spare change in his pockets, and he doesn’t want it to fall out?)
A few minutes passed and I’m still chasing this guy. I followed him down by the Children’s Zoo, and then he headed up a hill. By this time no one was near, and he bolted. He moved so fast, no way could I have caught him with a bike.
I don’t think his speed was humanly possible.
Before I go on and on and the men from Bellevue come and pick me up, I’ll lay out the facts.
(Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, NYC)
I’ve never ever mentioned this guy to anyone. You are the first.
I’m always alone when I see him. Which is a shocker because the pizza and Chinese delivery guys follow me around like I’m Trump. Plus you know I hate to go anywhere without my lady friend.
Stranger still, last year I was thinking about starting a blog that would have been all about my quest to learn his identity. Which is something I don’t think is possible.
I even think the reason why I couldn’t finish the post yesterday had something to do with him. I think he plays mind tricks with me. I think the only reason I’m getting this message out to you now is because over these past few months we’ve connected so well, that I have developed blogging superpowers.
In conclusion, I think he’s an alien; not foreign but from outer space.
P.S. If I don’t ever post again, I probably was abducted by aliens and taken somewhere. I hope they don’t give me whacked out vitamin food, and they’d better have beer or else. My favorite right now is Grolsch.
P.P.S.S. Do you think aliens could be punks? If you-know-who (the pizza and Chinese delivery guys) could be punks, then maybe aliens could be and viceversa.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Thirteen – July 2009 (Bald Punk’s Secrets of NY)