Look both ways before crossing the street

It’s time for an update about my favorite personal trainer. (You know, the one I chased down the dairy aisle at Target… and the one who was walking a puppy named Pocahontas on Christmas.) What’s he up to these days? If you ask him, just saving my life.

I don’t see him much since my aerial class moved to another gym, so it was a something of a surprise when he ran up behind me as I was crossing 117th Street last week and yelled, “YOU ALMOST DIED!” right in my ear.

I didn’t see him coming – much like the car that he claimed nearly ran me over mere seconds before.

“You weren’t paying attention!” he yelled, sounding eerily like my father. “That car almost hit you!!”

I wasn’t buying it. After all, I know a thing or two about close calls – but even if I didn’t, I’m certain that I would notice almost being struck by a motor vehicle.

“It couldn’t have been that bad,” I said, waving him away. “They didn’t even honk.”

No one can argue with logic like that, so he did the only thing he could do: he changed the subject.

“I’m training to be a firefighter!” he announced. “Did I tell you?”

He actually hadn’t told me that, but it explains everything! No wonder why he’s running around East Harlem acting like a one-man emergency response team – he’s embracing his new role as a civil servant!

I suppose this news also explains why he’s been walking on a inclined treadmill for an hour at a time with a weighted duffle bag slung over one shoulder. I found that routine rather curious, but never bothered to ask him what he was doing, preferring instead to imagine a world in which he was training for our debut on The Amazing Race. Apparently, he’s much more practical than that.

When we were done going over our updates about work, and aerial classes and the puppy, I asked my favorite question: ”What are you reading?”

He’s always into something unexpected. In fact, when I first ran into him on the 6 train last fall, he was halfway through James Joyce’s 700-page Ulysses – which is a perplexing choice of leisure reading for just about anyone, but especially so for someone who doesn’t seem to be good at sitting still.

“I’m done with Ulysses,” he said. And he told me what he was reading now, but I don’t remember what it was exactly, just that it was equal to or worse than War and Peace.

“That’s not what I would have picked for you,” I said, shaking my head.

“What would you have picked?” he asked.

And I reverted to the two books almost every man I ever dated call a favorite: Catch 22 and The Catcher in the Rye. I probably could have done better if I thought about it more, but those were the titles that came to mind.

The Catcher in the Rye?!” he shouted. “Isn’t that the book that all the serial killers like?”

It is the book that all the serial killers like, but it’s also a really good story – just ask anyone I’ve ever met on Tinder.

The Catcher in the Rye!” he yelled, half-laughing as he jogged backwards across 117th Street. “You think I’m crazy!”

I don’t think he’s crazy, of course. I think he’s adorable. And I also think that he was lucky the light was red as he backed blindly into the street.

Otherwise he could have gotten hit by a car.

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