Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bethesda Punks

I drove 2+ hours on Monday afternoon to northern San Diego, where I'll be until tomorrow morning. While I was interviewing sources and visiting sites for several articles yesterday, E. hiked up Torrey Pines, then went down to La Jolla to watch baby seals swim and sun themselves (it's birthing season).

Oh, the unfairness of it all.

After work yesterday, I hightailed it to the nearest place I could run that wasn't choked with traffic: Lake Miramar. I ran out and back 7 miles as the sun was setting, with 10 minutes to spare before they closed the park gates. It took me 59:25, or about an 8:26/mile pace.

Okay, I have 10 minutes before I have to get ready for work. Forthwith, one story I promised, entitled, "Empty Heads, Full Bladders."

Last week on a beautiful if cold afternoon, I ducked out of work for an 8-mile run on the Capital Crescent Trail. The trail, which goes through several upper middle-class to middle class neighborhoods in Bethesda and upper Northwest D.C., is heavily wooded in many parts.

On Mile 2, I noticed one teenage boy (about 14-15 years old) straddling a bike on a small hill above me to my left. He looked at me. "Hey Ethan," he called to a friend, who I could not see. I ran on.

I turned around at Mile 4, and started pushing it. I was aiming for negative splits on the run back, and by the time I got to Mile 7, or about the same place I saw the boy, I was breathing pretty heavily. I stopped briefly to catch my breath.

That's when I noticed two boys ahead of me, about 50 feet away. It was the same boy on his bike, and his friend, the aforementioned Ethan. They were on either side of the trail. I didn't really pay attention to them, although I noticed that they kept talking to each other quietly, then look back at me.

Two bicyclists rode by. Then an inline skater and a slow jogger. After about 20 seconds, I started running again. I glanced at the two boys. They seemed to be waiting. Just as I passed the boy on the left, he pulled down his pants and started peeing on the trail. He was facing away from me, and peeing at a diagonal.

Yellow urine started trickling down the asphalt trail.

"Oh, brother," I thought, and rolled my eyes, amused and irritated.

I kept running, but started laughing maniacally. A few feet ahead of the boy, I turned around, still running, looked him square in the eye and down there, pointed, and kept laughing. Then I turned around again and hightailed it out of there.

A second later, I heard a boy (the pissing dude's friend?) laugh really loud, whether he was laughing at his friend or me, I don't know.
I wondered if they were going to come after me since I laughed at them. I picked up my speed just a bit.

I told a few colleagues later what happened, and one said that I should have asked them who their moms were, and that I would call them. The men I talked to about it got upset and said I should call the police. What do you think?


  1. Only reading the story, the incident could mean nothing more than a couple of bored but harmless morons. Or they could be taking that first step toward something much worse. I would have had to be there to get a gut feeling about them.

  2. I think you did exactly the right thing. I'm sure they never counted on the person they were trying to shock turning things around and humiliating the pisser.

    We are way too quick these days to call the cops when a kid pulls a prank. That reality made parenting a little scary for me.

  3. *sigh*

    i'm leaning more towards the reactions of your male colleagues, but, i think you have to pick your battles, and you handled yourself quite well.

  4. I think you are hilarious. You did the one thing guaranteed to humilate them.

    And I still wonder: What the hell were they thinking? "Hey, i know a good way to get this hot chick to notice me...i'll pee in her path!!" ??

    Please, those of you who used to be 15-year-old boys, enlighten the rest of us.

  5. Quick thinking on your part. Humor always diffuses a tense situation. I'm not sure how I would have handled the situation, although I try to never run where I will be isolated. You were smart to not stop and confront them, though--four against one is not good odds.

  6. I think you did the right thing, absolutely. Forgive the expression, but the kid was "pissing in the wind." If you do that, you get what you deserve. He did something rude, and you laughed in his face which surely upset him. No cops necessary, the little punk won't likely do it again.

  7. Bex,

    I gotta hand it to you. Your response to those boys cracked me up because I would have done the same thing. Only I carry mace with me so would have felt more brave with that.

    I like the sounds of some of the places you run. Nice!

  8. After a day to think about it, I still don't know what I would have done. Probably ignore them because you don't want to do anything to acknowledge or encourage them.

    If I was fast enough to think of something, what you did was probably a good idea ... make the loser think twice if he's going to try that stunt again.

    Then again, it might have been fun to go after him and see him try to outrun you with his pants around his knees!

  9. I guess it depends on whether or not you think they could take you on if they had two friends hiding with them next time.

    I think you handled it right for the situation. They weren't insulted enough to get angry, but still embarassed enough to stop it there.

    Once you were home and safe, I'd say call the cops. Who knows how they would react to the next woman running.

  10. 14 and 15 year olds? Well unless they "looked" innocent I'd have been concerned.
    But given the nature of their prank I suspect they were laughing at each other because you turned and stared them down (down there). In a way, you proved your domnance.

  11. I think you did the right thing. It's one of this situations where you could prob judge by looking at the kids that they were harmless pranksters. I probably would have pulled out my pepper spray just to get them a little frightened too!!