- Some days my body is just physically present on the path. Every part of my mind with the exception of the part that takes care of the muscle/eye stuff is somewhere else. That happened a couple of times this week. Sometimes a thought may dominate the whole walk. It really lets nothing penetrate. This week the pool maintenance man hat I wear was fitting so tightly it cut off all the blood to my brain. I had been trouble-shooting everything I knew could be the problem with the pool pump. I had the pool people come out to fix it. They did the repair, but the whole pool apparatus was not functioning the way it should. When things like this come up, the walking time is a time for problem-solving. If I was at home I would be too distracted to be able to focus only on the problem. The other issue was my ongoing challenge of not being challenged at my job. While I work on solutions to this problem, I still have 40 hrs/week where I am obligated to give my best. The culture and the unwritten rules of my employer make it difficult to be as effective as I would like.
- As much as I would like my walk to be a wonderful time to try and spy bunny rabbits and interesting people, my mind is not always open to this idea. It chooses to do what it chooses to do. A really interesting fellow pedestrian might break me out of my brain lethargy. If the problem I am trying to solve is a really good one, then I am practically a zombie with one purpose. (I don’t want to eat the flesh of other humans. I want to solve the problem.).
- Pet-peeved: For such a nice day, I had few to celebrate the occasion with. The only person who was available was a guy who I intersected with. He was about my age and talking on the phone AND he was shirtless. Do guys need to go shirtless in public spaces? I don’t like looking at my self while topless. Do I really need to look at some other person who is topless? If I am near a body of water, I am asking for it. I am able to prepare to have my eyes offended. When I am walking on the sidewalk and it is only a little warm, half-naked males are not something I enjoy seeing at all. I will even so bold to say I prefer to not see anyone half-naked on the path. Except for dogs. They shouldn’t wear clothes. That is weird.
- Intersection: I am on the right side and they are on the left. Or, from their perspective, I am on the left and they are on the right. On regular wide paths, this is pretty easy to visualize. When it is a narrow sidewalk, it becomes a little more unclear how it manifests itself. If there is a dog or a bike involved, the wider party will usually drop to the street–if a walkable street is available. If not, then the walkers hug the edge of the sidewalk or claim the first couple of feet of grass on their right. With bicyclist, an intersection could be a collision. On the few 90 degrees turns on the path, the bikes find it much easier to cut the corners. If you are where the corner is cut, you may find yourself harpooned by a bike. I step very lightly when rounding corners.
- Passing: This could be someone passing me or me passing them. My rules make the person passing responsible for letting the other party know. If a person is running, often I will hear them quite a bit ahead of time. If I am in some mental zone where all mental efforts beyond my eyes are someplace else, I may be surprised by the person coming up on me. In all cases, I just think it is a sign of respect to say, “On your left.” It is what I try and do. If someone is wearing earplugs, then I may just wave as I go by. My goal is to be respectful. The actions are meant to imply the words, “Hey, fellow human being. Glad to see you out getting some exercise.”
- Camel-up: Today’s trek was, with one exception, only me. I am guessing the wind accounted for a large part of the drop-off. Although walking the middle of the afternoon might also be a factor. The two ladies who were walking an intersecting path acknowledged me with a “hello” without breaking stride. This left me little to notice beyond their water bottles. I can’t fault them for carrying water bottles with them. I don’t know how long they are going to be out. They also may have a health condition that makes it necessary to take the occasional swig of water. My plan has always been to saturate myself prior to walking. (Cameling-up) I may be a little parched at the end of the walk, but my hands are not bothered by grasping a bottle that will throw off the swinging of my arms. When I start taking those large strides, my arms really get moving.
- Zinc lozenge: As I tried to get some quality sleep Sunday night, I was fighting the symptoms of what I thought was allergies. (I.e. Drainage and stuffy head). As I moved through the day on Monday, I became more convinced I was on the quick path to having a cold. I scoured the bag I brought to work to see if there were any stray zinc lozenges in the bag. There were not. As I endured the rest of the workday, I was planning to find my stash of lozenges as soon as I got home. If lucky, I might yet use their magical powers to ward off the deepest depths of the all but unavoidable cold. Fortunately, the stash was still intact. I popped one immediately after getting home. I did those post-work things do to help me unwind. Then, I took my walk. About 1/2 mile into the walk, I exhausted the first zinc drop. I launched another one into my mouth knowing I would still stay below the daily prescribed quota. As I tucked it into alternating corners of my mouth, I focused on stretching out its near magical powers. I wanted my body to get a slow steady drip of its cold-fighting effect. This last lozenge kept my mouth company for over an hour. My mouth and tongue seemed temporarily transformed by the spells it weaved. The mouth either had a heightened awareness or a slight numbness. Whatever effect it had, I usually avoided food for a while after anything zinc touched the inside of my mouth. Sometime after dinner and bed, I did take one more lozenge. I wanted to give my body a good dosage of medicine to see if the battle for my health might allow my body at least a partial victory. Monday night I had better sleep than the previous night. The cold symptoms were not present. When I arrived at work, the sneezes and only slightly runny nose were what awaited me. It doesn’t mean my foe is giving up the fight. It does mean he may need to find a new general if he wants to completely vanquish me and my zinc ammo.
- Daddy & Daughter Biking: It is good to see dads and daughters doing things together. As this duo came up behind me, dad gave me a nice warning. His goal must have been setting a good example. Many of the solo bikers don’t choose to do this. Our pace and path were such that we encountered each other again. As they stopped to turn around, they had a little snack. Dad again said something like, “Have a nice day.”. I followed up with a, “Have a great day, little lady.” as his daughter passed by. While I trailed them, it was good to hear dad talking about school starting back up. He was investing in his daughter in a positive way. As a parent, spending time with your kids does not have to be as deliberate as a date. A bike ride is a great option. And, if you are not going to model wearing a helmet, it is good to at least make sure your kids are wearing one. 😉
- Puddles: One puddle was 3/4ths the way across the sidewalk. There was a couple pushing a stroller coming from the other direction. Since the water completely covered my side for a few feet, I felt motivated to walk a little faster. The young family did not look like they were determined to see me with wet feet. As I crossed the narrow portion of the dry sidewalk, I felt I could slow down my briefly accelerated pace. It felt better to be on the “other” side of water obstacle where some insane stroller operator could not taunt and torture me and suck time out of my day. If I chose to be evil, I could always have run through the puddle and splashed them.
- Ant Farms: The previous evenings light rain disturbed many an outdoor ant farm. At many of the farm locations, there were fresh ant-sized bites of dirt resting on the top. Once the rain had stopped, the worker ants must have gone immediately to work. There was no sign at the top of their plantation of the chaos the rain had introduced into their lives. Also, along with the expansion/crack joints of the sidewalk, the ants had cleared out some of the grains of dirt that had become embedded in the crease. If I were an ant, it seems unlikely I would have any time for hobbies.
When: Saturday, during the Afternoon- 3/17/2018
Weather: Low 80’s, mid-afternoon.
- Bike Weenies: Today, I believe I was a moving pylon in someone’s obstacle course. Not sure why I was chosen to serve in this role. It looked like this particular bike weenies left the house with his intention to own the sidewalk. I was not given a warning or an apology. I became an impediment that needed conquering. His companion offered no bike swerving as they passed me. The damage emotionally had already been done.
- Dancing Cavemen: As I turned the first real 90-degree turn on the path, I was greeted by a dancing caveman coming up the path toward me–on my side of the path. Why was he a caveman? He had a piece of wood as thick as a baseball bat and about 3/4th as long. Why was he dancing? Since he was on my side of the sidewalk, we had to negotiate whether I would join him in walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk OR whether he would temporarily hop to the correct side of the path so we could intersect without confusion. After I began moving to the “wrong” side of the walkway, he quickly moved over so we could avoid confusion. As he passed, he told me to, “Keep on Keeping on!” I let him know I would. To show my approval, he grimaced at me and beat his stick in the dirt a number of times.
- Blooms: The blooms have arrived. Walking through a balance of urban woods and residential, I see all sizes of redbuds, Bradford pears, crab apples, and a mix of other blooming vines/trees/shrubs/annuals/perennials.. I love the delicacy of the redbuds. The shades of pink that cover the branches are nearly overwhelming. The blooms on the pears give them temporary value. Some still call them the “worst tree ever“. The other blooms don’t seem as prominent or as frequent. They are still one of spring’s special delights.
When: Friday–During the Afternoon- 3/16/2018
Weather: Low 80’s, mid-afternoon, light breeze.
- Sweating: Today allowed a nearly forgotten concept to re-enter the vocabulary–sweat. It was not terribly humid. However, a few sweat beads originating at my temple made their way down my face. In a few weeks, it won’t be just a few!
- Pause: One point on the path involves crossing the street. I have grown used to the idea of just waiting until the traffic passes. Today, a car insisted on stopping to let me cross. I felt a little badly. While I was looking the other direction calculating when the cars might allow me to “frogger” through, this nice guy may have waited a couple seconds before realizing his kindness. Once I did, I hustled across quickly. I through up my hand a couple of extra times to thank him for his generosity.
- Dump: As I was coming towards the end of the walk, there is a dispenser of green doggie bags. The gentlemen standing there pocketing a few bags was walking two dogs. As he continued walking, the dogs were not allowing him to move very quickly and they were not doing a very good job staying on their side of the sidewalk. Just as I was preparing to pass, one of them was creating an occupant for one of the bags. When I yelled out, “That is what you are out here for.”, he couldn’t help but agree.
When: Thursday–During the Afternoon- 3/15/2018
Weather: Low 70’s, mid-afternoon, light breeze.