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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Elderly Walking

         The other day I reached my 83rd birthday, and that means (it must mean) that in addition to being a slow thinker and a slow talker, I am now also a slow walker.

Yesterday, accompanied only by my 6-foot-long walking stick that once had been a tall, straight stem of an Osage Orange tree, I visited a neighbor lady and her husband.   Not counting their driveway, they live exactly one mile from here, downhill on our gravel road to a river and across the bridge over that river and then uphill to H and K’s driveway, when there is still that quarter-mile of their driveway to negotiate even more steeply uphill.

To get there I hitch-hiked a ride to the bottom of H and K's driveway with another friend and his wife, who come here every Tuesday that their schedule allows, she to go on a walk with my wife, often over that same stretch of country road, and he to play chess while we wait for the ladies to return.

But to get back home I vowed to see how it would be to walk the whole way back.

(Meanwhile it’s necessary to mention that I went over to H and K’s to watch, for a moment or two, in absolute silence, while K was attending, online and therefore from afar, the 2014 National Conference on Autistic Children.  She’s been teaching autistic children for many years, and she loves it,  and therefore she probably knows a lot more about it than do a lot of the speakers at that conference, I would think, though she, of course, would never say such a thing.  And I had been helping (I hope I helped) her and H to get their wireless service set up so that she could sit in the comfort of home and take notes and quizzes and stuff instead of having to drive all the way up to Ohio and Pennsylvania or wherever and attend to all the expenses, troubles, and other things that that would have involved, to attend in person.) 

Among many other things, I am fortunate that my legs and my feet are still the same ones that, unlike my teeth, I had when I was born, and they’re largely intact and fully functioning, and I saw no reason why that walk back home would be much different from all the walking I do here at home because of sheer inefficiency.

And I was right.  It actually wasn’t much of a thing, except that I should’ve worn my trusty straw hat, because what I call the “eye flies” were out in force, and it would’ve also helped if I had drunk something before setting off.   Instead it was quite an experience because it had been many a year since I had last walked that far along our gravel road all in one jump, and in the meantime the trees had gotten much taller and the distances between various points much farther.   Still it was all a matter of taking one step and then another and another and so forth and so on, while stopping as little as possible, for what seemed like an extremely long time that involved taking many more steps than I had thought would be necessary.

My wife and this lady’s husband, H, had been a little concerned, however.   They must think that I’m literally on my last legs.   Therefore, just when I was only 100 feet or so away from the point where our property starts, on the south side of the road, three-quarters of a mile I would say from those folks’ steep driveway, my wife showed up in her Saturn and drove me the short distance of the rest of the way home.  But I wasn’t huffing and puffing, nor was I thirsty or any the worse for the wear in any other way.

Obviously I must look a lot worse than I actually am.   I have no idea whether that’s good or bad.  A little of both, I would guess.   That’s usually the way things are.



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