Saturday, June 03, 2006

Walk this way.

So, after having iced tea with the charming and talented Jon, I dabbed at my lips daintily, grabbed my grubby mom purse and said "Now, I hike the canyon."

Jon looked dubious. "Mid-day? It's going to be pretty hot."

Well, yes, it was a nippy eighty-seven degrees with air consistency of Nutella, but I need training time in weather extremes for Whitney. Hiking Mount Whitney, we've been told, can lead you to enjoy a) great heat, b) near-freezing temperatures, c) thunderstorms [if you are above the treeline during a thunderstorm, you have to come down right away, as you are the tallest thing for miles, and lightning likes talls things], and d) snow. If you are paying off a karmic debt, you can experience all four things in one day.

Being as very few people have the need to make themselves dehydrated, the parking was easy near the entrance to the canyon. I bolted up the hill. Now, I must digress for a second ("What," I hear you saying, "Quinn? Digress? That's crazy talk!"). Before I started training to climb Whitney, my uphill walking pace was about 3.8 miles an hour; even untrained, I am a bit of a trotter. Then again, my natural energy level is that of a Jack Russell terrier who has been crated all day, so a brisk walking pace comes as a surprise to no one. Now, having trained for nine months, my uphill walking pace is about 4.2 miles an hour.

This is useful when trying to get a hot canyon hike done quickly before the sweat and dust on your skin form clay. However, I have noticed recently 4.2 miles an hour is now my default walking pace. This, as a normal pace, isn't. Normal, I mean. I know this because I will be walking from Place A to Place B in no particular hurry, thinking my own thoughts (which are judgemental and profane), when I become aware the person ahead of me is getting closer to me by the second, and has begun glancing worriedly over his shoulder at me. Eventually, the person just stops and lets me pass, staring at me, clearly looking for the mugger who is chasing me or the cooler in my hand labeled "Human transplant organ".

By that point, it would be stupid to slow down; I've already alarmed a stranger. I toy with the idea of explaining that my walking pace has sped up, what with training for Mount Whitney and all, but I sense the only thing which would make this interaction creepier is if I prolong it. So, I smile, mouth "Thanks!" and do the pathetic "Don't mind me, I'm just a really fast walker!" wave as I pass.

The nice thing is, now my walking is only half as slow as my talking.

Actually, that's not entirely true. Most of the time, my speech is not much more than grunts and pointing; this might have something to do with maternal fatigue and something to do with my suspicion that no one in this house listens to me anyway. But God help you if you're my first adult conversation in days, and I've had just a touch of iced tea...

'So, we're thinking of keeping my car through next year, at the very earliest-hold on, wait, no, that's not my phone. I've got to change my cell phone ring, it sounds just like everyone else's and I keep grabbing my phone in public places and it makes me look as if I'm desperate for calls. Which you know I'm not, I do have friends. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, the car. I think it makes sense to wait for the first rush for hybrids to calm-where did you get that wallet? It's adorable. Maybe it's the flowers, or the color of the trim; I always forget how much I like melon as an accent color. Also, I know it's not from this country because I always fall in love with leather goods that are either hideously expensive or cannot be found on this continent. Did you get that in Italy, because it seems Italian to me. Not that I don't think you also spent a hideous amount of money on it. Wait, that came out wrong. I'm sure you spent exactly what it was worth on it. Do I have lip gloss on my teeth? I'm sorry, what were we talking about?"

"I asked you to please hand me the creamer."

At this point, I have no option but to hand over the creamer to this stranger and walk out of Starbucks. But at least I walk out of Starbucks quickly.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so funny! I just love a friendly, non-threatening way of course. haha!

3:10 PM  
Blogger hedosean said...

You and I wold get along FAMOUSLY! Al;though we would most likely get similar glares from those around us that foriegners do for not speaking Enlish in America as we "powerwalked by speaking in Fast Forward".

12:22 PM  
Blogger Avedon said...

Ah, it's all so familiar. Yes, I've bought some lovely things at the Dead Clothes Shop, and some of them were truly great finds, but every now and then you discover after you've arrived somewhere that, really, you should not have bought the thing.

On the other hand, I still have items from the DCS that have continued to look great, even twenty-five years after I got them for five bucks.

7:43 PM  

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