I miss walking.
That’s not to say I don’t have the option. I don’t want to give the impression I’m wheelchair bound or otherwise incapable of getting up off my butt and getting my step on. After all, I have to walk to my car and those days I’m forced to park way out in the parking lot, I can actually feel my heart rate increase (yes, I’m that out of shape).
Back in the day, I used to walk everywhere. I didn’t have a choice. It was that or public transportation and we all know that’s not really an option (if my bosses are reading this, that’s just a joke). My friend, David, and I once walked from my house over on West 19th to the mall and back. I looked it up on Mapquest, and that’s nearly sixteen miles round-trip. Maybe that doesn’t sound so impressive in terms of driving, but for us, it was an epic journey. We spent the time “role-playing,” which is in quotes because it was really just me making up a story and him telling me what he wanted his character to do. There was no rolling of the dice, because I knew as the creator of the story, his character couldn’t die. It was my first experience with a sort of stream of consciousness writing, creating the story as it happened instead of having it planned out. I think the ability to be adaptive to the story has helped me out over the years, as I use it to be flexible when the characters start pulling the story in an unexpected direction.
These days, when my wife and I jump in the car, we fire up the MP3 player, which is constantly on, even when we’re engaged in a conversation. We go to where we need to be and back, sometimes taking the scenic route home. We talk about walking all the time (we even live a block from the river and a very nice walking trail), but it’s easier to generate excuses: I get off work too late, it’s too hot outside, we have to keep Natalie in a stroller or else she’ll make a bee-line for the river (she’s fairly infatuated with water, that girl, and has no real regard for danger). We were even in the market for a dog, telling ourselves it would force us to take daily walks. Instead, we drove to Cle Elum last week and picked up a Malamute from a rescue…a 12-year-old senior with bad legs, who the vet recommends doesn’t go for walks (not to mention he’s 140 lbs and we don’t much like the idea of carrying him home if his legs give out). So, now the dog is an excuse *not* to walk.
The reason I have this in mind is on the way home from Cle Elum, my lower back/hip started acting up. When I’m on the road at work, I drive for 8 – 10 hours a day. For some reason, I couldn’t hack that 5 hour round-trip journey. I spent the week after in pain, barely able to do my job (you know it’s bad when the elderly and disabled people you transport are giving you advice on how to increase mobility and offering their sympathies). When I finally went in on Monday, the chiropractor had to work me over pretty good to get my hip back in. His recommendation: walk around for a while to avoid the sitting position while my body adjusted.
So I did just that. I walked up to the Chinese restaurant that shares a parking lot with the chiropractor and enjoyed the smells of lunch coming from inside. I went down the street and through some parking lots, exploring the exteriors. Nearby, some construction work was being done and I paused and watched them, trying to puzzle out what they were building. In all, my recommended six-minute walk turned into a half hour and as sore as I was, I felt much better afterward.
The thing is, I drive by that location several times a day, but in my haste, I fail to notice the little things. I’m sure once the building is complete, I’ll visit it routinely (assuming it’s a medical building; it comes with the job), but I must have passed by it several times without giving it two thoughts. I understand the necessity of driving, but it seems like the faster I can get to my destination, the more destinations I need to get to, which undermines the time saved by driving in the first place.
I realize I may not be able to traipse all over town like I once did, but I think I could squeeze in a few blocks here and there. It’d do my body–and my mind–a world of good.