Having not done too much exercise since New Year start, and with one of Europe's largest intra-urban parks a mere four minutes away from my front door, I thought, with the lovely mild, dry weather, a brisk walk was in order today.
As one used to sharing a seat on the tram with the tram lunatic, little did I realise that today I would pick up the park lunatic. I took off my jacket to inspect the back of it, and there certainly wasn't an "I welcome walking with the park lunatic" notice attached.
How I assessed the lunacy of my sudden accompanier, was when he sidled up to me and said "Hello" in the manner of Philip Green (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmDkPvy7ALY) from "Britain's Got Talent". I knew in my bones I was in for a memorable walk.
Without much further ado, he was straight in with "People say I look like Rhett Butler. What do you think?" Personally, I think John Prescott looks more like Rhett Butler than he did. I was tempted to ask whether it was the Clark Gable, Charlie Sheen or Justin Chambers portrayal of Rhett, but thought, hey, hold the 99 ice-cream for a moment here, Rhett Butler ain't for real!
Next, as we passed by the 'lake' in the park. Rhett started chatting about what it might be like to swim there this time of year. Panic setting in. Was this idiot going to try. And he perhaps not being able to swim himself, would it be left to me to go chasing in after him? Help!
But thankfully, we passed the lake without a potential drowning incident.
Next, Rhett stop dead in his tracks. I kept on waling thinking "hey, I'm going to lose him". But no. He shouts at me "Hey friend!" (I'm NOT his friend by the way). "Will you help me keep an eye on this woman and her dog? I want to make sure she cleans up any sh*t from the mutt!! Oh gawd. Was there a hole I could creep into? The elderly lady with her Yorkie is looking around thinking I'm this lunatic's friend! I mouth to her and wave my hand with a negative gesture - 'not with him'. I think she has got the message. At least I hope she has got the message.
We continue walking. I didn't want to. But we continue walking. Next to attract his attention is a group of traditionally dressed Muslim women and their children enjoying what all people enjoy best in a large municipal park on a mild day. Ice cream. He stops and looks. I continue walking. He just stands there looking at them. But hey, 100metres, 150metres, I'm getting away! So I step up my step-up speed. I'm free.
"Hey, whatdya think of those women. Dressed like a (I have edited out the "popular" terrorist group he referred to) day out." He's back. Here I was tempted to explain the freedoms of sitting in a park, but thought, "no". Bite your tongue on this occasion. I hated letting him away with racism, and as it was just as an aside to me (not the point though) I had to let it go, because I knew nothing about this lunatic, and he could easily have produced a knife. Or gone off on a bender on some description.
So I took a gamble based on his strange walking gait and said. "Look my friend (spitting inwardly) . Wonderful talking with you (spitting inwardly) and nice meeting you (spitting inwardly), but I'd better get my run going."
Off I went at a light canter. He didn't follow. And didn't seemed concerned that as a jogger, I was dressed in jeans and walking shoes.