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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hash House Harriers

So I'm riding home from work, on safari looking for tags to shoot mainly. I'm not disappointed, I found some cool ones I hadn't seen down in the River Market area. But as I crossed the bridge by Ventolia Energy, where Grand becomes Front Street, I see a man in a Hawaiian shirt with a shark puppet on one hand and, hanging off the other arm, a broom, pornographic DVD, and plunger. He was blowing a whistle and barking orders at some joggers.

It reminded me of a story I heard about two guys taking acid who decided they'd been burned on the deal, that the acid wasn't inducing any hallucinations at all, so they went outside to have a lightning bolt war.

As I got to the far side of the bridge, I saw a man in a blond wig and grass skirt running. As I pulled parallel with him he jumped over the railing of the bridge and disappeared down the embankment.

I rode down under the bridge to a trailhead and there was the grass skirted guy and another guy in a kilt. There were several conventional-looking runners as well, or conventional by comparison at least. And the shark glove was along presently, the apparent ringleader or co-ringleader of the evening's festivities, and beers were being passed around.

I told them they looked to be an alleycat race that had lost its mounts. They'd never heard of an alleycat race, but I'd never heard of the Hash House Harriers, an international movement dating back to the 1930s described as 'a drinking group with a running problem.'

Several of them introduced themselves to me with handles along the lines of Chief Horse Pussy — I forget the specific handles these characters used, but here I was giving my real name. I pulled a can of Modus Hoperandi from my panniers, and they'd never seen a cyclist carting beer around, but I'd never seen a running group that stopped for beer breaks, either.

I gave a beer to the dude with the long black hair and the red mark on his chest which matched the markers for the hash, I gathered. Then I accidentally dropped a can and it started to leak. One of the hashers was on the case; I never saw a Ska beer shotgunned before, but he got it done.

After a few minutes they were off, running again, looking for marks laid down in advance by the event's disorganizers to show they were on the right track.

Just another one to file under Adventures You Won't Have Driving Home from Work.

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