In Rod we trust

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The other day I went to the post office, and since it was a nice day I decided to take my skateboard. Only when a road construction forced me to take a more secluded street, I realized avoiding bigger streets was a whole lot less stressful. This may be obvious to some, but the smoothness of the pavement is very important to me when I ride my board somewhere, as are bike lanes. Both things are more often found on bigger streets.

Riding on a side street does have its disadvantages. I worry more about the noise that my board makes, because the street is more quiet. I like the convenience of getting somewhere quickly, but I’d hate to disturb somebody along the way. I was wondering about people’s perception of skaters nowadays when I saw a jogger approaching from the other direction. Trying not to seem obnoxious and overly aggressive, I maintained a consistent line of movement at a moderate speed. As two of us got closer I thought, “I wonder if that guy has a lot of people tell him he looks like Rod Blagojevich.” Two seconds later, just when we were about to pass each other, I realized it was the Governor himself.

Rod BlagojevichIn his plain white t-shirt and dark running shorts, he looked skinnier than I remembered him on TV. There were no bodyguards running beside him — there was nobody else on the block, for that matter. It was a sunny day, not terribly hot — but he must have been running for a while, because he looked pretty tired. He took his eyes off the road for a second, and glanced at me. I gave him a quick wave, still standing upright on the board, wondering if this politician-spotting is any more or less gratifying than others I would compare to: athletes, musicians, actors, etc. To my surprise, he immediately waved back. He seemed too tired to care about the skateboard. Or maybe he just doesn’t care anyway. His lack of hesitation for waving back at a slacker-looking Asian in his late 20′s on a skateboard in the middle of a weekday… inexplicably made me like him as a politician.

I decided then that this experience ranks higher than other minor celebrity-encounters in my life. OK, maybe not as high as spotting Jeremy Piven with his girlfriend at SOFA (and yelling, “Cupid!” from where he couldn’t see me), but definitely higher than living next to Jamie Navarro.

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