Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why I Love DC and Need a Camera and a Girlfriend

This evening I was reading in the Starbucks in Chinatown. I made the mistake of looking out the window and lost 10 minutes of my study time.

A man, who was ostensibly homeless, fashioned a make-shift gym on the corner of 7th and H Streets, right in front of Fuddruckers. He could have just as easily been just another functionally-issued, workaday District resident, like the rest of us. In any event, he removed his shirt and hat and placed them with his bag in what I assume was the locker room section, then he spread out a bath towel on the sidewalk. He stood opposite the towel, wearing sunglasses, what looked like a swim cap, and shorts that he hiked up to reveal the legs of his boxers.

He paused for a moment, to steady his breathing probably, then launched into a full-body warm up sequence. This was followed by calisthenics. Next, he laid down on the towel to do double-time crunches. Then, he was back on his feet for standing dumbbell and dumbbell hammer curls with a 20lb free weight that he pulled from his bag.

After hiking up his shorts, which had apparently fallen and no longer exposed his underwear, he performed a vigorous, hip-hop dance routine. This went on for a minute or so, until he reached into his pocket to pull out a stopwatch. He laid it, then himself, on the towel and started doing pushups. Back to standing. Rehike shorts. Another minute of hip-hop dance aerobics. More pushups. And repeat. The session ended with a few more reps with the free weight.

After what was probably 20 to 25 minutes (of which I sadly sat, rapt, for 10) he took off his sunglasses, put on his hat, and pulled on a rope chain with a large wall clock pendant, a la Flava Flav. He gathered his towel, the weight and the rest of his belongings from the locker room, and strolled off.

His entire routine was interrupted by only one passerby on the busy corner - during the after work/happy hour/dinner rush, mind you - who probably asked for directions, cigarettes or spare change. After he left, his street corner work-out room was again absorbed into the fabric of the city. Pedestrians trod the space completely heedless of all that had just come to pass.

I'm not jaded, per se, but there's not much I haven't seen in this city and there's not much that would surprise me. Suffice it to say, I didn't see this one coming. My first thoughts were "this would make a great picture," and "I want to call my girlfriend and tell her there's a guy exercising on the street corner." Alas, I have neither a camera nor a girlfriend, so blogging will have to do.


At 1:27 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger rod said...

I know this is rather distant from your post (which was wonderful, BTW), but your title and last line reminded me of an old Alice Cooper lyric which contains these lines: "I ain't got a girl 'cause I ain't got a car, and I ain't got a car 'cause I ain't got a job. So I'm looking for a girl with a job and a car."

At 12:13 PM, August 26, 2006, Blogger The Black Sheep said...

Don't know the song, but like the lyric. Thanks, Rod. Pray all is well with you.



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