We don't get down to New York City that often—at least not to Manhattan—but the marathon is powerful enough to draw us out of the mountains in our flannel, beards, and suspenders to stand on Fifth Avenue and croak obscenities from baccy-stained mouths at the sneaker-clad city slickers in their polyester gym shorts. Our toddler is especially good at this.
Sunday we went, and a very generous woman who lets me sleep at the house spent some time slicing oranges in the kitchen before we left. I haven't watched the race since 2004, and I didn't hand out fruit then, but I received a slice of orange while running it in 2005. That's when I discovered that oranges are hand-made by Santa Claus, and he uses magical go-juice to make them.
I don't know if you fish, but that physical feeling when a fish mouths your bait? And the more decisive tug when it takes the lure? That's what it felt like when runners dipped into the gallon-sized ziploc I was holding, extremely grateful, looking me in the eye, calling me nice things ("lifesaver," "godsend"...I would have given my wife the credit, but she was three or four feet away, and I like being called nice things), asking if they could take one "for a friend."
The three pounds or so that I held outstretched went as quickly as my wife had said it would, and even the last forlorn little orange section, awash in a pool of juice, got snatched up by a Swedish lady whom you could tell felt a little thrill of victory at getting the last orange.
Ordinarily I would sum up by digging out a metaphor and broadening the orange story and the running and the time my wife spent slicing them into something to walk away with and chew over. But not today. Today I would like to simply report that it was really fun to give out oranges to runners during the New York City marathon.