I’m almost there. I’m so close to throwing it all in Alison’s face. One more week of ‘training’ and I will theoretically be running half an hour three nights in one week. This was nothing I couldn’t handle which is impressive to me in itself. A few problems this time, ones I’m surprised I didn’t come across until now. They can be broadly categorised thusly: boredom, other people, cats.
First the boredom. Well boredom may be a little harsh, but that seems to be the best word I could think of seeing the same scenery all the time. My discovery of the extra part of the park a couple of weeks ago could only go so far. I start my runs off there now, it is darker and I can stretch out with a leg propped up on a bench without quite so many other eyes around, but there’s only so much space to run in. Back and forth was fine back in the those halcyon days when my assigned runs were measured in seconds but this week saw me getting up to 27 minutes and there’s only so many times you flit past that one confused-looking old man before you start to get a little self-conscious. So a wild notion grabbed me and I ran out of the park, up a hill and down the road into a part of Hung Hom I’ve never bothered going down before. I was right not to bother really seeing as there are only flower shops and convenience stores down there amongst all the residential buildings but it’s a long road and by the time I had traversed the length of it twice Alison had already chimed in to say I was half way done. Brilliant. For some reason it feels a lot easier to run a longer path up and down than pound the pavement in the park. I guess I don’t have to turn around quite so much or head up and down inclines but whatever it is it works for me. If it makes half an hour go quicker I’m obviously all for it. It does however bring me into contact with more people…
I, like everyone in the world, hate bad walkers. Whether it be the sudden stop, the slow walk, the not-paying-attention-because-I’m-buried-in-my-phone, or the just-couldn’t-care-less these people on the street are a menace and they must be stopped. It has to be said that for all the times I’ve been irritated by this phenomenon, in all the places I’ve been in the world, no-one does it quite like Hong Kong. It’s amazing really, there are so many people in this place and not one of them acts like they have somewhere to be. A vast majority of the people that live here don’t seem to be aware that they don’t have the street to themselves. This is a minor annoyance that seems more serious when you’re in a shitty mood. Personally, it became rage-inducing when I couldn’t allow myself to stop running. On a number of occasions I had to do a weird little knees-way-up-in-the-air run on the spot behind a cartel of old women or oblivious kids while I waited for them to realise they might have to move ever so slightly. In the park this was more than likely my fault. Everyone gets to use the park and it isn’t fair for me to assume people will dive into the bushes when I come crashing down a narrow walkway. That was part of the reasoning behind my journey off into Hung Hom but that just made it worse! Now I had added whole families and dogs into the mix, fool that I am. Hopefully you won’t hold it against me and decide that because of a bit of weird jumping up and down behind slow walkers, I haven’t actually met my target time. There was one point where I was trapped behind a stumbling little girl attempting to carry a plastic ball that was about as big as she was. I wasn’t exactly going to kick her out of the way and I didn’t feel like attempting to jump over her. Don’t hold it against me okay? Okay.
Which brings me on to cats (this isn’t the most linear of blogs). There are skinny, runty little stray cats hanging out in the park particularly where I start off from. I’ll see them from time to time lying under the benches and peering at me. Sometimes if I’m very lucky I’ll almost step in one of their shits. On my back and forth park runs, the place with benches is where I turn around and go back the way I came. I can only imagine the cats have learned this because as I was merrily grunting and sweating along my path one of them jumped out at me. It was black so I didn’t spot it on the bench but it very purposefully leapt into the air as I approached. Now thankfully I was too out of breath to let out a girlish yelp of surprise and it didn’t land on my face or anything. It just made me jump and have to run a little semi-circle around it. The bastard. Gave me a fright. But I had forgotten it by the second time I got to the benches so that was a perfect chance for it to jump out again from the other side this time. I was ready for it by the third time so obviously the cat had taken that into account and recruited one of its mates to leap out from the left as I was turning around, lulled into a false sense of security by the lack of attack on the approach. And then a bloody third one half way down the path putting to rest any notion that this was a random act. Make no mistake, this was premeditated; are you trying to tell me this isn’t something a cat would enjoy doing? A cat would delete your hard drive if it could.
If you’re having trouble picturing all that it was exactly like this:
I’m David Hetherington and I’d totally fight a cat.