I often run up and down the stairs at a church on Thomas Circle.
They aren't too steep, and there are columns to round at the top. I run up, round a column, down, up to the next column. Up and down all the way across. And then repeat the opposite direction. Sometimes the up and down and up and down gets tedious, but for the most part, I quite like it.
There are often either piles of bedrolls and stuff or people asleep at the top. Or during the daytime sometimes people are just hanging out up there.
I keep my distance, and if there are too many people, or I'm going to be running too close, I go elsewhere. Because although it's a public place, when they're parked there, it is, essentially, their bedroom.
Also, there's some high degree of possibility that at least one of them is crazy and unpredictable.
Which leads me to the ass-face scenario.
So a couple days ago I was running up and down these aforementioned stairs. I was listening to my iPod, my short blonde hair up in as much of a ponytail as possible, wearing my periwinkle fleece, and really enjoying the sunshine.
La la la la la up and down the stairs.
There were a piles on both sides of the church. They looked like huge bundles of bedroll and stuff.
More la la la la la more up and down the stairs. Until, after about 15 minutes of uping and downing, I got to the top of one of the columns to see someone back against the far wall throwing off a blanket. And glaring at me.
By the time I'd gotten back to the column on his side, he was sitting turned to face the wall. I kept running for about five more minutes. Every time I got to the top on his side, he was facing the wall.
I was halfway up the stairs when I happened to glance up. And see him, bending straight over at the waist, with his pants pulled down.
If I hadn't been paying attention, I'd have been face to ass as I hit the top of the stairs.
I screamed a little, but just a little. And turned and ran. I'm sure I was running like a girl.
It took me a fraction of a section to bolt down the stairs and head for 14th Street. At the point at which an angry mendicant is all about showing his ass, the only reasonable thing to do is flee.