Nicky's Blog

2010 New York Marathon

November 9, 2010
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Hundreds of people surrounded me at every angle shouting cheerful words. Some were giving gifts of potassium to the tired, yet determined runners. “I got a banana,” he chuckled, as he hurried past me on my right. People waved signs, taped and glued together by loving hands, over their heads. Stretching over blocks and blocks, all I could see was a sea of waving signs and hands.

I could hear voices saying, “You can do it, Jennifer” and “Let’s go, France”. I soon realized that these encouraging words were uttered by and to strangers. There existed an understanding that each runner was equally deserving of  unconditional “Yes You Can” mantras. I started to extend my hand into the sea of runners. Slap. Slap. Slap. And, then,  smiling and content faces.

I could see pain and pleasure in their faces. The pain they felt piercing their body emanated into passion in their eyes and we felt it. I wanted to do whatever in my means to console them into realizing their goal. It was exhausting to expel that much energy into people whom I had never before met, but I did it without conscious thought.

Big, fat marching bands burped music into the air – loud, move-your-body music. The kind of music that you can’t say no to. The kind of music that doesn’t say no to you. And, the kind of music that runs over your body and tickles it, inciting you to move to the left and to the right. My body listened and followed organically.

“Do you have a press pass?”, he asked me with an endearing grin on his face. Smiling back with one eyelid closed, “No, I replied.” “Well, she’s sure cute enough not to,” muttered the man behind me. I smiled and pressed down hard on the shutter. Snap. I froze the runners’ pain. Snap. I froze the runners’ pleasure. Snap. I froze this magic I was being witness to. Froze it then so I could feel it again some other day.

Two pretty southern bells tapped their fingers over their iphones and asked me what mile marker we were standing on. “You’re asking the wrong girl,” I replied with a shrug and a shy smile. They tapped incessantly until one exclaimed, “Sweet Jesus, finally!”  One asked me if I wanted to see where my boyfriend was on a speckled map on her fancy iphone marathon application. “Um, well, uh, he’s not really my boyfriend. Er, ok, his name is…” “Your boyfriend is finished, dahling. You better go get him at the finish line, baby.” I smiled, gave them my best, and ran away.

How I wanted for all of New York City to show this kindness and sincerity to passing strangers daily. Even round bellied, cranky police officers, who were assigned a very specific purpose that day, couldn’t help but feel the good energy of the people  they were policing. That pull was universally felt.

It was these same people that I likely brushed shoulders with on the subways, and sat uncomfortably close to on the buses. It was these same people that probably shouted their order with a tone of bitterness at Starbucks. It was these same people that may have slid stealthily into my cab seat when the rain fell from the heavy clouds.  But, Sunday represented the truth that New Yorkers never cease to amaze me in good ways. Perhaps, I might even want to say that humanity is full of warm surprises me because, after all, these people  had come from all corners of the world.


About author

A lover of people, the arts, parks, curiosity, spontaneity, altruism, self-exploration, and story telling. I believe in living your life nakedly and on fire. I am one of triplets: I have two sisters running about in the city coping my look. If you see "me", think twice. Much of my writing is inspired by my daily happenings. Much of it is also closely connected to my years at Bates College. This blog is for anyone looking for inspiring insights and stories.

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