Start: Essex and Delancey
Hares: Death Breast and Technically Foul
On-In: Motor City
Scribe: Just Barry
What did I take away from the hash on Sunday 2/21 in the wonderful area of lower Manhattan? Well, beyond the sore legs (I did not stretch beforehand), the sore back (probably came from my sore legs and bad sneakers), the greatest urge to urinate in the new york city subways (I had 4 pints of beer in the on-in, didn’t go at the bar, and didn’t want to go until I arrived at my humble abode) that I have ever had in living memory, and the experience of answering the question "Are you in a marathon?"…quite a lot actually.
It all started out when on the D train to grand street, where I was greeted by a homeless man asking for money in both english and chinese, and coming face to face with the unrealized mass of chinese new year celebrators, that I questioned myself and life. The question was along the lines of, "Who in their right mind would want to, or be ABLE to, run around when there are so many people out." After all, going through Chinatown was like taking a stroll through Bejing, where each person has approximately 2 feet of personal space. Eventually, I found my way to the corner of Delancy and Essex.
Now, as a native of New York City, I have been to Delancy street quite a few times. After all, it runs directly into the Williamsburg Bridge, which is a major NYC thoroughfare. Yet, I approached the street from the south looking north, and I beheld a site that prickled my brain – for there was a horde of people crowded around a corner, the likes of which I had never seen prior in my 23 years in New York City. This crowd was not like the crowds of Chinatown: there were no sparkling girls in top-hats ready to dance in a parade commemorating 365 days of the Tiger, there were no people trying to sell me noodles, there were no flashing cameras taking in the sites of the Manhattan Canals; there was only people, dressed up as runners, milling around and chatting amicably.
Nor were these people dressed up as runners seemingly part of any organized team! I have had experience on organized running teams. In high school, I would frequently traverse the hills of Van Cortandt Park and the tracks of in and around the Bronx and northern Manhattan. During those years, the goals of myself and my comrades were twofold – to run fast, and to build relationships if time allowed.
After I crossed the street to this gathering of people who were dressed up as runners but seemingly not part of an organized team, I quickly talked to someone who introduced themselves to me a human embodiment of mutton, and pointed out to me some drawings that had been left on the ground, which seemed to indicate how the group communicated with itself when it was split apart. The living embodiment of mutton claimed that these symbols would help me find the rest of the people who were dressed up as runners, once the running commenced. Soon thereafter, there was an announcement made to the people — "WE GO THAT WAY!" (pointing eastwards towards the river).
Not knowing what to expect, and dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt, I got out to fast start, until we came to the symbol which was only meant to add an element of confusion to our route. We did not know which way to go. Some went east, some went south, some went southeast, and some went back west; only for a few to realize that the correct path was north through little germany! Oh how this eased our collective pain once the path of truth was found!
After a while, as I jogged with a man who was ‘hooked’ on this form of gathering, and his compatriot. I learned their stories, kept my paces in rhythm with theirs. After all, I had come to join this gathering of people who are like runners but are not part of any organized team, in order to meet new people. Yet, perhaps as a residue from my long ceased training, or my understanding of how best to channel the corporeal chakras, my pace resulted in my gradual separate with myself and them. Soon after, however, I caught up with a woman – this person was born in Kenya, schooled in Massachusettes, and trades in knowledge of rocks at the Natural History Museum. We jogged side by side for a bit, chatted, withstood the piercing gaze of the sun, and eventually even made it through a section of the chinatown crowds, still relatively following the directions of the images that the living embodiment of mutton had previously explained to me their meaning. Again, my pace outpaced hers at some point, and then I ran into a man who went by the name ‘super-stuffer’.
At first I was perplexed by this name, but he had told me that this type of gathering was not unique to New York City, but also had participants in the Midwestern City of Chicago as well! As we jogged, he explained that in that city, during a day of celebration, he had dressed up as the hero ‘superman’, ‘stuffed’ his crotchal region full of some substance, and was also intimate with a fellow lady in the group who went by the name ‘male full of meat’ – hence the name ‘super stuffer’. As we went on, I found that he and I were in relatively similar situations, in that we were among the generation of people who are either unemployed or under-employed, that Italian food is good to serve, and that getting lost in little Italy is very easy. Oh and that scaring tourists is fun.
At this point, the man who was ‘hooked’ and the woman that paced with him joined us, or rather we joined them after backtracking and being lost. Fatigue was all around. Mostly due to our blubber, of course. Luckily, we were headed east – I knew that this meant our trail of caveman-like drawings was coming to an end. We went north, east, east, north, and eventually, we grew hopeful – we saw a BN and a BVN. Then we turned east, and heard people say ‘on in’…..and we found our promised land of the day that was freely flowing with a myste.
In this promised land, which bears the name Motor City, the rest of the group that had started out was milling around and enjoying themselves. Eagerly I dashed up to the people who were speaking out commands and performing necessary actions, and they told me ’20 bucks for pizza and beer’. I love pizza and beer! But I did not have sufficient green paper, so I went to the ATM, got the green paper, went back to the promised land, and drank, ate, and conversed with people, until I could drink, eat, and converse no more. At some point, a man who claimed to be from the Isle of Britain, stood up and yelled something. People yelled back. He yelled again. Everyone had partaken mightily in the magic drink that is able to make speaking easier. He invited the people who apparently laid out the path that we, the semi-runners, took to get to the promised land, at which point we as a people congratulated them by providing them with more of the magic drink, and our honor for making a path. They I learned were called ‘hares’. Afterwards, I was invited up among a group of 3 or 4, and I was among those honored with a song, for I was among those people who had partaken in this gathering in places not located in the city of New York, or ‘visitors’. I was given more of this magic drink too. Then there were the newly initiated ‘virgins’, the person named ‘Lee’ who tried to hurdle tall objects in a single bound but failing, the woman named NYCE who flashed many of the chinatown tourists with a piece of interestingly placed red clothing, people who had garbed themselves in similar outfits; there was something to do with familial relatives, I think, and more that I cannot remember.
Lastly, people got up and indicated that this type of gathering of people who meet at certain places, run around following caveman like drawings placed at strategic intervals by the human embodiment of mutton that symbolize certain actions that one should perform, with the purpose of arriving at the promised land, which is place where one can drink, eat, and converse with those who have participated on the similar journey about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, would continue into the future. I was told: This was a ‘hash’ and I had just been ‘hashing’. On out.