Having been press-ganged into attending this run by DB2 at last Wednesday's NYCH3, I found myself standing 5-deep in 120ø temperatures on the platform of 42nd street waiting in vain for a No. 5 train that would, I'd been assured, get me to the start at Flatbush Avenue this side of the Millennium. 10 minutes later, with the platform now 12-deep, a No. 4 train finally staggered into the station. By now, in desperate need of a strong blast of AC, I fought my way onto the train and decided I'd sort out the rest of my journey in the relative coolness of a packed subway train. Suffice to say it was sheer luck, rather than my good judgement, that made me choose to change trains at Nevins. In rolled a No. 5 and I was finally on track for my first Brooklyn hash in a long, long while.
And despite my late arrival, I was greeted by a veritable ensemble at the start -- the noble DB2 as hare, Mrs. ADB2 and of course Daisy-the-Dog who was resplendent in ribbons and bows. Undoubtedly this was in honour of her new beau, Dave "Too" Long. How sad she must have been at his non-appearance. She was not the only one, for it seems that no matter how much he cajoled, begged or pleaded, DB2 was himself unable to reunite the Four British Daves for this occasion.
As Mrs. ADB2 waited patiently to drive the Hash Mobile off into the sunset, we were greeted by the sight of Dave Croft removing his work gear to reveal his running apparel underneath. A Supermanesque gesture if ever I saw one. Whether he had actually worn his running stuff under his clothes all day is something we can only wonder about. And why Dave should want to do this in the first place is probably something only Freud could answer.
By this time, I was only too ready to leave the madness and start the run -- but I was quickly thwarted when I was told the start was a check. Luckily for me, I headed off in a Lairdly direction and was awarded with a wave and an On-On for my efforts. What a kind chap he is. That of course was the last time I saw Laird before I got to the bar. Lack of Laird notwithstanding, I enjoyed the run. Lots of nice big houses to oggle at (I was later informed by DB2 that movie stars used to live in them), lots of interesting neighbourhoods with even more interesting inhabitants (they themselves were worth an extra oggle or two). Checks were relatively few and far between initially and though I complained that the FRBs had failed to mark them, I was actually secretly pleased as it allowed me time to cool down, rest, reflect and let someone else find the trail for me.
An important feature of this run seemed to be its constant running through schoolyards. Joyce put this down to DB2 being a child at heart. Or did she say child-molester at heart? Whatever, it was a hot and sweaty run and the smarter ones among the group (Roy, Janet and her sparkly new bought-at-lunchtime shoes) realised the potential use of sprinklers as impromptu showers. They arrived later at the On-In somewhat cleaner and cooler than the rest of us. For me, I experienced a mild moment of panic as I ran through the local (apparently all male) Bangladeshi community. Again there was much oggling - though not by me this time, and I seriously feared that my limited running attire, though suitable elsewhere in NYC, might lead me to be the first women publicly stoned in Brooklyn. Remind me to bring along my yashmak next time.
And so to the On-In - your regular Irish bar in your regular Asian community. Apparently we'd be there before, but I know not when. Anyway, the Arctic blast from the AC and the Gale Force 8 from the overhead fan forced many of us to stand by the front door for warmth, until some Bozo turned on the jukebox. And since it emitted more decibels than Concorde taking off, we quickly scurried back to the frosty end of the bar. Soon down-downs were called and as we formed a circle, a loud voice cried "Who's frae Scotland then". Our largely-English group, obviously recalling the fear their ancestors had felt when facing William Wallace on the battlefield, quickly gave up the sacrificial lamb. All fingers pointed to me and Margaret ('Magrit' in Glaswegian) soon became my new best buddy. "I canny believe it" she shrieked "another Scottish person - amazin!" Yes indeed, I agreed, with 5 million of us living overseas at any one time, this really is a coincidence, what a small world it is etc. etc. . Now shut up, you're disturbing the down-downs. And disturb them she did. Jerry and John did a noble job at trying to bring some order to the circle and while the English remained cowering in the background, Magrit continued to hold court - or at least her double vodka. She suggested we have a "wee sing-song later on". What a great idea, I concurred, you know how I love my sing-songs! Where's Baldwin now I wondered. However, Margrit's vodka was empty and when she returned to the bar, she seemed to find something more interesting than her long-lost Scottish cousin and we were never to hear from her again. But as to who got down-downs and for what, I have no earthly idea.
Food soon arrived. Tasty pizza for the plebs and West Indian meat patties for the favoured few. Beer was MacSorleys or Bud. Not much choice for the real aficionados, but since I'm a Bud fan, I couldn't have cared less. The glasses were bijou and Cardinal O'Connor, whose glass was even smaller than mine, looked particularly out of place supping his MacSorleys from a small sherry glass. The constant filling of glasses was however good upper body exercise. And I'm sure this is the true reason the barman refused to give us pint glasses. When one bold hasher asked for one, he replied "no way, because then you'll all want one!" And that's a problem because? We would never know. All in all, however, it was a good run, through interesting neighbourhoods and a fun-filled On-In too. Well done DB2.
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