Saturday, April 9, 2011

Push and Pull

Wednesday afternoon I made my every-other-weekly sojourn up Parsippany Road from my office to the Bank of America (a name so "tug at your heart strings" that one wonders why every bank founded prior to BOA did not think of it first) branch to cash my paycheck.  As I was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of Parsippany Road and Lanidex Drive I noticed a rather disheveled looking man walking on the sidewalk adjacent to my lanes of travel walking vigorously in the direction of oncoming traffic - a group to which at that very moment I belonged. 

Now, having gotten up and gone for a 5 mile run Wednesday morning before leaving the house - a run that I started after 3:00 a.m. and completed before 4:00 a.m. - wearing only a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts, it may seem surprising (or hypocritical even) that what initially caught my attention regarding this particular pedestrian was his wardrobe.  I know not whether it was the stained wife-beater t-shirt (original color appeared to have been white or some offshoot thereof) or the bright red cargo shorts that originally nabbed my attention.  Perhaps it was the manner in which the strengths of the individual pieces brought the whole ensemble together that reeled me in. I simply do not know.  For all I know it might have been the fact that he was striding a purpose-driven stride while carrying under his left arm a simply enormous plastic shopping bag. 

Upon further reflection I know that while each of the above was charming in its own particular way, none was the "one".  What brought this gentleman from side-view curiosity to center-ring main attraction for me was not what he wore or what he carried.  Rather it was what he did.  Upon crossing over Lanidex Drive, which he did in a pseudo-sprint so as to minimize the inconvenience to any motorist attempting to turn from Parsippany Road onto Lanidex, he dropped to the sidewalk.  Once there he assumed the position - and starting cranking out push ups.  I kid you not.  Push ups.  By the time the light had changed and I had contnued on towards the bank, he had zipped through twenty-five of them.

Perhaps in a better world spontaneous calisthenics would not seem to be a strange sight to see while sitting in mid-day traffic.  Maybe it is not the world that needs to be better - but merely me - in order to better appreciate the undertaking without questioning the mental well-being of the one undertaking it.  Then  As I looked at the other motorists who were also waiting for the light to change from green to red, their eyes were as full of slack-jawed wonderment as I imagine mine were. 

It took me about fifteen minutes to wrap up my business at the bank (42 seconds for me to hand my check to the teller and approximately fourteen minutes and eighteen seconds for her to process it for me).  On my inward leg on Parsippany Road, I passed by Jack LaTwoLane again.  He had walked a considerable distance in the interim.  While he was still carrying his valise-sized Quick Chek bag, I did not see him drop and give the voice in his head another twenty-five.  Thus I do not know whether what I witnessed on the way to the bank was an aberration or merely a part of a recurring pattern. Honestly, I do not know whether it is the prospect of the former or of the latter that I find more frightening.... 

....although suddenly a new candidate emerges.


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