walk this way, talk this way
Originally uploaded by fubuki.
For most of my life, I've been a walker. It wasn't really a choice. Unlike these crows, I couldn't fly; and I often drove unreliable vehicles that spent more time in the shop or broken down in the driveway than they did taking me where I wanted to go. There was one particular Volkswagen bug that had to be jumped every time I drove it, coming and going. It got to the point where my poor, beleaguered neighbors just saw me on the street and they ran for cover. It was usually easier to walk; and I did-- miles and miles, often dragging my two oldest kids with me. Pushing one in a stroller, the other clinging onto the side as we trucked our clothes to the laundromat may have felt tough at times, but it now provides me with some sweet memories
Then there was my job. In all my years of waitressing, I probably took enough steps to traverse a couple of continents. But the only place I ever arrived was tired out in my kitchen, sucking on a beer or a cup of hot chocolate as I counted out my tips at the end of the day. It was a good life in a lot of ways. I loved the motion of it, and the new faces that popped up every time I took a few steps in another direction. Even better, I could sneak greasy hors d'hoevres or leftover wedding cake till I dropped and never gain an ounce. Bemused, I watched diet fads come and go.
But in the past couple of months, my life has been different. I stopped being a walker and became a sitter. Instead of serving up coffee and soup to folks of all kinds, I sat at my computer and invented my own people. Like the ones I've met in restaurants, country clubs and wedding tents, some of the people in my stories are easier to get along with than others. In fact, some of them are so obnoxious, I wish I could walk away from them, slink off to the kitchen and vent with my co-workers like I used to. Did you see that character on page 6? What a jerk!
Now my only co-workers are my dogs; and they don't care a bit if I get fat, sitting around and snacking all day. In fact, they're all for it as long as I share the bounty. In two short months, I've become a world class sitter--and my "shrinking" jeans are beginning to reflect the consequences. I got all excited when I read a review of a book called The Sonoma Diet in Sunday's NY Times Book Review. So what if the reviewer pretty much trashed the book, saying its book length advice could fit onto two index cards? People are pretty thin in Sonoma, aren't they? (Not that I'd know. Like I said, most of my traveling has been on foot, and in circular patterns around various dining rooms.)
So today, with the temperature hovering preternaturally around 50 degrees and my daily writing finished, I committed a revolutionary act. I walked for no reason--not to get anywhere, or to earn a living, but just for the sake of walking. It wasn't a short walk either. I walked three miles to the local convenience store, congratulating myself on my new "exercise program" every step of the way, and three miles back, whining and wondering where I ever got this crazy idea.
I blamed my surroundings, the cars on the road, the damn hills that all were all of the up variety on the way home. Really, the area where I live is not all that conducive to walking for no reason, and would probably be even less friendly to anyone who actually needed to get somewhere. I walked a mile or two down a major road, with big SUVs and pickup trucks driving me closer to the guard rails. And you can't help noticing the way people look at you when you're walking on the road like that--as if they're probably wondering why you don't have a car. What's wrong with you. It's what Woody Guthrie (yes, I know I'm obsessed) called the "born to lose" look.
At home, the dogs were giving me their own look--one that said, I can't believe you went without us. But once I settled myself back in my study with the requisite snacks, all was forgiven.
The Sonoma Diet, huh? Maybe I'm going to have to check that out.