Both my wife and I were working from home today. Her day is usually filled with meetings, but sometimes, as in today, she gets an hour or so gap. Today, she had a 1 1/2 hour gap between meetings, so we knew we could take on virtually anything our construction-laden walk might throw at us. Our confusion with a solar powered sign announcing “Expect Delays” over the past week led to our downfall…..
Our normal (this is normal since about 3 -4 weeks ago) walk takes us on the new paths completed by our city, through a couple of neighborhood, beside a couple of softball fields as we wind through a park, along a well-shaded train track and down a non-sidewalked road with fairly low traffic. We were aware the beginning part of our path might have an obstacle, so we were not surprised when within the first 10 minutes we had to backtrack. As we navigated some unfamiliar streets to get to the main road, we chose to go toward a possible rendezvous point with our “normal walk” at a point south of the construction zone.
Me: You certainly do appreciate sidewalks when you don’t have them.
Wife: I knew there was no sidewalks here. The traffic is much louder off of the main road.
Me: All of the noise saves you from engaging in frivolous conversations with your husband. (I have to say this while turning my head because of the extreme noise coming off of the cars speeding by.)
Wife: You are not frivolous. You are the most serious walker I know.
After enduring the noise and near conversation vacuum, we made a right to pick up our “normal trail”. We cursed our luck as we could nearly see the northern point of the path closure. (Throwing gravel at the southern point seemed juvenile. It was only this fact that prevented me from acting on my whim.) As we rejoined our path, we checked our time. We both felt confident my wife could still make her conference call. Due to familiarity, our legs went into auto-pilot. Our conversation was sparse but consistent until we came to the point where we left the railroad tracks behind and headed north. I suppose we were grateful the “Road Closed” sign and related paraphernalia was visible from the tracks. However, the “returning home in time for the conference call” issue was now seriously in question. My wife chose to continue west rather than bungying back home.
Knowing we needed to push ourselves, I became the pace mule. Conversation was more scant than before as we seldom walked side by side. I continued to try and maintain a good pace whether we were within talking-range or a few yards apart. As the sidewalk ended and we began heading north again, we rapidly passed businesses and woods while sidewalk were available, but mostly optional. (The recently expired fox was a slight distraction.) Eventually, we were able to go briefly east and catch a side road that also went north. The sidewalk were consistent and we were close enough together to comment on some of the “over the top” Christmas light displays. As we neared a “branch” that would allow us to reattach to our “normal path”, the clock became an even bigger enemy.
My wife cut all corners possible. The neighborhood did not allow for much “corner-cutting”. She saved all of the cutting for the park. She hopped guard rails and ignored barriers that would have previously limited our path on normal days. (We had to go cross country at the park because of another construction zone. Our desired path was right on the other side of equipment and a large pile of broken concrete, dirt, and recently sacrificed flora.) As we rounded a corner and came upon the playground area, a young couple who were walking their dog parted after apparently having their innocent kiss now classifed as “PDA” due to our appearaance.
As we again were able to place our feet on our elusive “normal” path, we noted how my wife would be about 10 minutes late for her meeting. Her 10 minute delay was not wasted. All of our winding and pushing and navigating resulted in a walk totaling 5 – 6 miles. It was not the first time we had taken a walk of this length. Fortunately, it was a rather cool day, or the walking disaster would also have been a dehydration nightmare!