I talk to myself while I walk


At my and Gar’s age, not to mention our activity level, which is less than any sloth on planet earth, we’re certain we should be moving our joints every day, so I walk and Gar swims. And before you feel the need to high-five us you should know, if we miss a day we don’t care, we don’t gripe or feel shame. If for some reason we can’t exercise we usually go somewhere, like for ice cream.

We found a college that offered Gar lap swimming, which also had a nice track so I could walk at the same time. Meeting up with Gar after his first day at the pool, I asked how it went. He shrugged resignedly and lamented, “Well, I guess it was good, but there’s a woman there about 20 years older than me who lapped me, every lap.”

Each time he swam and I walked, I watched for her. No matter what day we showed up, she was there, and was indeed in her mid-to-late 80s and couldn’t have weighed more than 90 pounds. She was always power-walking from the parking lot with a bag on each shoulder, causing her to bend under the weight. She’d get in the pool and then would continue to swim without stopping. Gar marveled, “You should see her perfect flip turns, and if those aren’t amazing enough, I just found out she swims 7 miles every day.” A few days ago, when I asked him how things were going, he dejectedly sighed, “Okay.” I asked how the gal was doing and looking a little sad, he wistfully replied, “She bicycled to the pool today.”

The weather in Florida doesn’t always cooperate with my routine and I’m forced to walk in the rain. I wear a weatherproof hooded jacket but still, my moisture-stricken hair appears to have been molested by a bunch of bats. In fact, it might be against the law to have hair look this awful.

Sometimes, like today, it’s chilly with a biting wind, so I wear earmuffs and a sweatshirt to get my steps in. And before I get too far into this, I’d like to mention, I do out-walk a few people…namely the ones on crutches.

So, there I was this morning, all bundled up like there was a polar freeze, when I noticed a gal in front of me, walking at a pretty good clip. She strode around the track until I was aware that she was striding behind me, and was soon in front of me again, lapping me, once, twice, three times. I can’t say for sure but I think her speediness was due to her skimpy polyester shorts and nylon tank. As I watched her, I recalled that during swim practice, athletes wear t-shirts for drag so at competitions they’re quicker. I thought surely, it’s the same concept for walking and I was in more clothes so, of course, I was slower. I didn’t ask her how she could be so fast. What if she’d said, “Fast? I had hip surgery yesterday.” Since I talk to myself while I walk, I already had an answer. I’d have nodded understandingly and demurely replied, “I get that, my pace is off too… I’m walking with a broken femur.”

This afternoon our daughter Lunny called us. She is still in training for a serious mountain climb this spring and is always focused on a routine of some sort, which involves sweating. Obviously, God magically made her; a beautifully, muscled filly from a pair of dumpy potbellied pigs. Lunny is shy and does all her exertion without fanfare, never letting anyone know. I think that’s weird since if I’m touching my toes, I tell the neighbors.

Today, Lunny went to the gym and upon quietly entering, unbeknownst to her, a fitness class was just starting. Her introverted self attempted to turn back towards the door to depart, when the instructor, probably seeing her disgustingly toned thighs, rushed forward to ask if she’d like to participate. Later, she told me, “I felt a little awkward saying no, and also, I couldn’t think of an excuse quick enough, so I joined in and really, it turned out to be a good workout.” What? She couldn’t think of an excuse quick enough? Not to sweat? Has she learned nothing from living with me her first 18 years? I told you, she was created mysteriously from my loins…you didn’t believe me, but now you do.

Trena Eiden            [email protected]

Advertisement