The View From 32


MAY 20, 2007   More below: SOUNDS  |  SIGN-SPINNERS

Corner of West 32 and Franklin where marathon and 10k convergeAt the corner of Marathon and 10k

At the corner of my street (West 32nd) looking east you see the 10k runners on the left and a lone marathoner crossing right to left.

This year's route for the Cleveland Marathon and 10k brought them together right here, something new. Nearly every year the route passes our street one way or another, but it's usually further north, at Detroit and W. 32.

You can't tell from this picture, but later on when the more mainstream marathoners got to this point the street was jammed with runners. The guy in this picture is actually way ahead of the average runners.

I hadn't paid much attention to the race this year, but woke at about 7 a.m. hearing muffled thumping as I lay in bed. At first I thought it was an inconsiderate neighbor playing his stereo too loud, something that thankfully only happens once in a while. But the more I listened the more it sounded like a marching band, not death metal.

St. Ignatius band playing for 10k runnersI got up, dressed, and went out on the front porch to see if the thumping could have something to do with the Marathon, and sure enough I saw a small group of musicians down the street at Detroit.

When I walked down with my cup of coffee I saw what was probably the St. Ignatius Spirit Band playing encouraging music for the thousands of 10k runners who passed the corner.

Based on my one and only experience with long-distance running—a half-marathon I ran just before leaving Indianapolis and Herron School of Art—having the band here was a great idea. It's kind of amazing how when you're tired and struggling sometimes just a little encouragement can give you a burst of energy.

I watched another encouraging scene play out as I walked up the street toward home. What looked to be a mom ran along the sidewalk yelling encouragement to a young boy, probably her son. He was pretty far back in the pack of runners, but she shouted "Don't worry about passing people, just run your own race, run your own race!"

With this, he picked up the pace and actually did start to pass people. And mom, stopping at the corner to watch, clapped with joy long after he could hear her.


Sunday morning sounds

The latest addition to our Sunday morning soundtrack is the ice cream truck. It's only May, but they're starting to make the rounds with their annoying recorded music playing. So today about 11:30 a.m. we had it all: church bells, birds, and the ice cream truck.


Looking for a new career?

Person in a bear costume outside a cellphone storeI know you've seen them, people dressed as animals, the Statue of Liberty, and who knows what else, standing outside the new cellphone store or restaurant.

Every time I drive by one I think that this is a job that no one would have predicted five or ten years ago. I'm pretty sure it didn't show up on the Dept. of Labor's list of occupations. I'd guess that it pays minimum wage, at best.

In today's Plain Dealer Business section there was an article about the next generation of what are called "human directionals."

It seems that in Southern California the folks don't just stand there, they do all sorts of gymnastics that involve twirling arrow signs. In Cleveland our bears and Statues of Liberty mostly just stand and wave, although I do remember a rollerblading Uncle Sam last year.

The more athletic and highly competitive SoCal "sign-spinners" command up to $60/hr for their talents! Here's the article, originally published in the LA Times. So, like most trends, in a few years we can expect our local Cleveland bears to be frantically spinning signs.

Here, take a look this video that shows sign-spinners at work.