In every neighborhood, there is at least one person who is deemed the local eccentric. He or she is harmless, but questionable. Observations of this person’s behavior are reported and discussed with amusement at parties, bus stops, and impromptu front lawn gatherings. Recently, a businessman who lives a block away stopped me for conversation only to stop mid-sentence and gawk at a passing runner. Mind you, this was no ordinary runner. This is a man that runs like Phoebe from Friends. Watch a glimpse of an episode here if you have never seen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_0Ta_DIWuU.
Our neighborhood athlete tops this. In his mid sixties, he runs, arms and limbs akimbo, often with an orange knit winter cap sitting crookedly atop his head (how does it stay on?) so that the bulk of the hat flops to one side. He runs and walks, runs and walks for hours and miles. I have seen him all over our neighborhood, at great distances, and at all hours of the day. We have spoken once or twice, politeness in passing, but obviously something is not quite right here.
“What do you think is wrong with him?” asked my neighbor.
“He’s nuts,” I said flatly.
“But it’s a physical thing, really,” he mused.
“Trust me. It’s all connected. He ain’t right, as we say here in the South.”
We watched the man flail and flop down the block for another minute. He stopped running, walked in a circle for a minute, changed directions abruptly, and ran helter skelter out of sight.
“We talked once,” said my neighbor.
“Yeah? What’d he say?”
“That he likes to watch the women as he runs.”