Alone in a New City — Saga #10: Running around

The week leading into my first half-marathon in Houston was a lesson in what not to do during taper week. Heavy drinking and long running. Really, the entire 3–4 weeks of training, that I did was made up of loose guidelines. I ran three days a week as compared to the suggested five, my long runs stayed steady at six until finally I realized I needed to bump it up to double digits. That happened the Sunday before the race.

That week, I also ran around Houston, experiencing art; a museum and a play specifically, amongst other things. The most spontaneous moment came when I said, yes to hanging out with my barber and his friends after a haircut on a Wednesday night. I’d been to this barber only once before then. He developed a cool enough stylist rapport — apparently apart of the curriculum for getting your hair-doing license includes counseling and charming customers. I’ve noticed that with so many of the folks that have done my hair in the past.

Anyway, this dude always has a women waiting on him to finish cutting hair. And given the above statement, always means each of the two times I’ve been there. I don’t like to see women waiting on guys that seems to throw off the natural order of things. Maybe I’ll explain that theory later. Actually here it is, condensed — it looks thirsty. Specifically, when there is no introduction and the shop is closed and it’s just us three and he never is even like, “this is my friend.” I wish ANY guy I’m dealing with (zero) did that to me. Ha! Dem youth dere sometimes, ya know. Naw, it’s not just youth it’s… Yo, let me keep it moving.

I should mention his other friend that was a dude was waiting on him as well. Alright, so the thing is both of these women were pretty (should that matter?) and nice girls. And I just had this whole scenario of them not being treated the way they should be. And it was a moment in sisterdom when I was thinking, please can I school you? Remember, I was the one writing notes of affection to someone who didn’t care like I wanted him too in an earlier saga. Damn. Okay, LET’s really move on.

Well, at least he is cute and I’m not saying that he treated them badly. It’s just you notice things. I realized that unknowingly all my barbers (three) since getting my hair mostly cut off have been attractive, I guess that’s a prerequisite for me, who knew. But he is attractive in a way, that’s not for me. Plus, I have to stop dealing with these young guys. Again, I’m getting a head of myself.

We all went bar hopping, I hate when there’s an even split up among the sexes and you’re hanging out and the guy is like, well shit, I guess I should talk to you. Or maybe he just wants to, but either way, his friend starts flirting. I speak regularly. Then he tells me I should loosen up.

Remember when Eddie Murphy, in Coming to America was like “I can be loose” when he is getting acclimated to American culture and goes out on a date with whatever her name was? By the way, that’s now on Netflix. Anyway, that WASN’T me, I didn’t take super kindly too it. Does loose mean being receptive to your flirting? I’m not here for it. I Figured he should have brought someone else for that role. Anyway, I brushed it off.

We land at a place to get some frozen margaritas then we go to the third ward to hangout. They both say, you probably shouldn’t just hang out here by yourself. Which is funny to me. I always have options. Next time if you want to come out, just let us know. That’s when his friend ask for my number, and then I say, “for what?” He responds, “to talk” I’m cool. This is the second time that I relented to giving my number when I didn’t want to since being here. This whole hum came across the whole car. I was like alright here. By the way his idea of talking was a series of “wyd?” over a week, before I had to tell him we weren’t right for each other. Wyd is one of the most unattractive text I can receive from a guy.

We chilled at a couple of places in the third ward, then the other woman asked to be dropped off at home. So the barber, his friend, and I found our way to this indoor/outdoor venue with this huge jumbo-tron and hammocks. I dug it. It was like a beer garden of sorts. We all had fun. Ol’ dude disappeared at some point. I’m thinking why folks are just being dropped out of this hanging out situation. Later, his friend text me and said, sorry I just had to get my car. I’m like its cool, have a good night. Trying to end communication for the night.

My barber and I, chilled at that spot for a bit, then went to two more places where he knew everyone. Antics, I tell you! I’d never tried Jameson with pickle juice as a chaser but by night’s end I had 3 shots of those bad boys with my other cocktails and beer. Then my barber starts sweet talking me. I’m thinking, boy please, you don’t like me. Hit him with a “stick with women your own age” and that derails his efforts for a bit. I like this neighborhood bar we end the night at. A group of friends decide to do karaoke in their own little section, which is loud enough to hear but not interrupting the prevailing music. Everyone is having fun.

He drives me back to my car by the barbershop. We talk for a while and sober up. I get home at around 4 a.m.

The most loving thing I could have done for myself on Valentine’s Day, which was that Sunday, was run and so I did in the half marathon I trained for. This is the first time my parents haven’t been there to cheer me on. Usually, when I run in Chicago they come down from the suburbs and we make a day out of the race and hanging out in Chicago. They must have known I was missing them because they sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and some toffee made by my very dear friend’s mother.

The race had a disorganized start and an okay course. I will not be running it again next year. However, I still enjoyed the race and stocked up on food at the post-race festival. I met two women who medaled who provided inspiration to me. One was in her early 60s and the other mid-50s. They won 2nd and 3rd place respectively in their age bracket. Truth be told, their times were a bit too close to mine. I’m back to my strict training come next year’s half marathon.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Omane’s story.