Brenda Starr and I are in training. There's a 5K through the pecan groves near her house next November, and we've paid for the t-shirts and the number and the snacks. There's no avoiding it - we'll be the slowest participants in the race but we'll be participants, nonetheless.
Her husband is in charge of our logo, a riff on my constant references to the fact that we galumph instead of glide as we cover ground. There'll be a Jabberwocky (Jabberwalky?) connection because Lewis Carroll got there before I did, but I'm taking credit for the original idea. We are many things when we walk; graceful is not one of them.
We are determined We are purposeful. We concentrate. We correct one another. We try not to list too heavily to one side or the other.... especially when our listing leads to our shoulders connecting. Turning around is a sight to behold; we take up a lot more room than you'd imagine.
Still, we are doing it. One weekend morning each week our little white cars are parked beside one another, waiting for our return. We have walked through Reid Park and the Rillito River Path and funky neighborhoods but now it is triple digits when I bring in the morning paper and walking outside becomes less than pleasant, unless you begin at 5am.
I'm too old to set an alarm to work out. We've relocated to the mall.
The doors open early in the morning, though the shops are still closed. There's pathway delineated with black linoleum squares following the outer edge of the mall. We step in each of the boxes. It is tempting to cut corners, but the color demands your attention and, before you quite realize it, you've made the turn and are rounding the corner toward home. It's possible to cover a great deal of ground while admiring the sneakers for sale behind the plate glass windows.
Today we walked 1.6 miles. We were quite impressed with ourselves.
We were not alone, though. There are many others in my age cohort making the rounds as well. Today we were amused by the woman with the blown out white hairdo, a combination of a page boy and a beehive and an afro. The temptation to run over and pull it off her head was nearly uncontrollable; it's a good thing that I don't run anymore. We laughed and wondered and then stopped as we watched her walk by... with her bright red lipstick and bright blue eye shadow and hot pink phone case stuck to her ear. The fact that she had three friends tagging along didn't dissuade her. She was yakking.
The fit 50-something gentleman in the striped polo shirt and khaki shorts sped past us at an alarming rate. He was making firm contact with the ground, as the soles of his shoes announced with authority as he took each step.
The elderly, bent, walker-attached man was much slower. We passed him easily.
There were families who seemed to be enjoying the air conditioning and not doing much else.
There were worker bees in some of the stores, stocking shelves and sweeping detritus.
And there we were, part of the early morning summer in Tucson scene. The Muzak was blaring. We were galumphing. It's not what I used to call exercise, but it certainly qualifies as such for now.
We only have to increase our distance by 100%.