Remember when, in your twenties, a friend would call and ask you to join her for a run? Me neither. No one ever asked me to go for a run. I wouldn’t be caught dead running.
Ok, let’s say she called and said, “Do you want to go for a walk?” To that I’d reply, “Yeah, sure. I’ll meet you at the park.”
But my response to a question like this, these days, is very different. That’s because I’ve entered the “losing spontaneity” stage of life. You’ll recognize it in yourself if you start to talk like Woody Allen in Hannah and her Sisters.
These days when someone asks me to go for a walk, my first response is, “A walk?” Then, “Now?”
Once it’s established that the friend indeed said walk and meant now, I mumble something about how I haven’t had my coffee yet, and that I can’t go anywhere without coffee.
“I’ll meet you in 45 minutes,” I say to my friend.
“It takes you 45 minutes to have coffee?”
“Well, I need to eat something. I can’t drink coffee on an empty stomach.”
“Okay, fine. I’ll come over and pick you up.”
When my friend arrives I’m practically ready to go. I welcome her inside while I run (walk) to the mudroom for my running (walking) shoes. Two minutes later she’s at the door of the mudroom. “What are you doing?”
I’m on all fours looking under the shoe bench. “I can’t find my left orthotic. I can’t go on a walk without them.”
“I didn’t know you wore orthotics.”
“Ever since the plantar fasciitis, I can’t walk to the damn bathroom without them. Which, I’ll have you know; I walk to frequently.”
My friend gets on the floor to help me find it. “We better hurry,” she says “it’s supposed to rain around lunchtime.” We find the left orthotic; I gear up, grab my sunscreen and slather SPF 75 all over my exposed skin.
“You’re not gonna need that,” she says, “it’s about to rain.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I say, “that medication for my arrhythmia makes me photosensitive. I can get a sunburn in the dark.”
My friend claps her hands like a coach. “Let’s go.”
I slip the sunscreen into my backpack while reaching for my nose spray from my fleece pocket. I give the left nostril two squirts. “The leaves at the park are gonna kill me. Did they remove those yet?”
“I don’t think they remove leaves from a park.”
“Well, those leaves are just one big mold pile now. You should know that I’m crazy allergic to mold.” Two squirts in the right nostril. “It could trigger a maniacal sneezing frenzy. I never used to care about sneezing fits, but now with the arrhythmia, it can really spell trouble. Just fyi, if that happens on our walk don’t hesitate to call 911. I don’t wanna have a heart attack in the park so that gossipy tennis lady, who I sometimes get stuck playing doubles with, will see me foaming at the mouth.”
“I don’t think you foam at the mouth when you’re having a heart attack. But if you prefer, we could go for a hike in the reservation. We don’t have to go to the park.”
“No. What are you crazy? The park has a bathroom. I can’t go on a hike where there’s no bathroom. Come to think of it, I need to go right now.”
“I’ll wait in the car,” says my friend.
I run to the car and we pull out of my driveway. “This is gonna be fun,” I say. I breathe in deeply, “Nothing like fresh air tinged with the smell of rain. I just love days like today. Great “walk in the park” weather.”
Before we get very far the skies open up and unload torrential rain. It gets so fierce that my friend needs to pull over to the side of the road and wait for it to lighten up.
She takes a look at her watch and then over at me. “Wanna go for something to eat. It’s practically lunch time.”
“Lunch? Now? Without my Lactaid…?”