I remember a time when I could have a soccer game in the morning, play all day, and then have a basketball game at night and never feel the physical effects. Granted, that was when I was twelve, but still. Now, if I play in a softball game, I want to die the next day. This is something I should have taken into account before the story I’m about to relate.
I woke up this morning, energized, ready to work a solid Friday in preparation for spending time with my sister and brother-in-law this weekend. That plan lasted until I tried to start my car. Tried being the key word in that sentence. Nothing doing. (it’s not the battery… and probably not the starter. friends suggest changing the plugs) After a few minutes of praying and cursing in equal measure, I had to re-evaluate and come up with a new plan. Here follows a list of things I SHOULD have done:
1. Made sure that my car (which I park outside) was prepared for the winter.
2. Had cash on hand to call a taxi.
3. Called friends, family, or co-workers to ask for a ride.
4. Ridden one of the many bikes that are currently littering our garage where my car should be.
I did none of these things. I called work, told them I’d be late, and set off on foot. I thought, it’s about a twenty minute car ride, surely it won’t take me more than an hour and a half to walk, and it will be really good exercise. I didn’t bring any water. I wasn’t wearing tennis shoes. I didn’t eat before leaving.
At this point, I hope that all my loyal readers are mocking me mercilessly for being so galactically stupid on so many counts.
The walk from my door to my work’s door is 8.5 miles, according to MapQuest. It turns out that I walk at about 2.8 mph, as it took me roughly three hours to walk it. During my three hour Bataan Death March, I encountered three dogs who tried to bite me. I also was solicited to provide two different people with either cash or cigarettes. And, most inexplicably, I was invited in to purchase a mattress at a steep discount. I suppose he thought “Here’s a guy who wants to be in bed”. And he was right.
Somewhere around mile five I saw the next in a LONG LINE of broken glass bottles. I sincerely considered picking it up and putting myself out of my misery. There was a funeral home not far away, which I like to think was located there for just such an occasion. Apparently I am not in good enough shape to walk 8.5 miles anymore. By mile 8, I could see my building and I still considered giving up. My feet (which currently have beautiful blisters which I considered photographing for your enjoyment) were in agony, my hips and legs were burning, and my beautiful overcoat felt like an eight year old riding piggyback.
What, you ask, was my beard’s role in all of this? It was two-fold… First, it was a nice barrier, preventing the cold and wind from eating my face raw. Second, it was a depository for all of my breath and, I’m sorry to say, more snot than I’m comfortable describing here. The breath/snot combination solidified on my upper lip with jagged protrusions that my unwary hand would occasionally cut itself upon.
So for the Trail of Tears, I’d say that the beard’s plusses and minuses come out about even. My deodorant, on the other hand, came out decidedly the worse for wear.
In my adult life I can only remember one walk that compared: A long jaunt from the Aladdin Resort and Hotel to the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. The walk itself was similar (probably closer to five miles) but the pay-off was quite different. When I finished that jaunt I was still in freaking LAS VEGAS, whereas once this walk was over, I had to work for the next six hours.
Maybe I ought to work out more often. Or learn how to fix my own car? I probably won’t be proactive about this, but I can guarantee that I won’t be walking in to work anymore. The call-off line sounds pretty good for next time.
*Big thanks to Matt G. for driving me home after work. Wasn’t about to try the return trip on foot. I’d be dead somewhere in Lindenwald.