Remember when, in your twenties, a friend would call and ask you to go running?
Me neither. No one ever asked me to go running. I wouldn’t be caught dead running.
Let’s say she called and asked, “Want to go for a walk?”
Back then, I’d reply, “Sure. Meet you at the park.”
But, these days my response is very different. That’s because I’ve entered the “losing spontaneity” stage of life. You’ll recognize this stage if you start to talk like Woody Allen from Hannah and Her Sisters.
These days, when someone asks me to go for a walk, I say, “A walk?—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 offer.
“It takes you 45 minutes to have coffee?”
“Well, I need to eat something. I can’t drink coffee on an empty stomach.” I explain.
“Fine. I’ll pick you up in 45.”
When my friend arrives I’m practically ready to go. She waits at my door while I run (walk) to the mudroom for my running (walking) shoes. Two minutes later she’s in the mudroom.
“What are you doing?” She asks.
I’m on the floor peering under the shoe bench. “Can’t find my left orthotic. I can’t walk without it.”
“I didn’t know you wore orthotics.”
“Ever since the plantar fasciitis, I can’t walk to the damn bathroom without them. Which—just a heads-up—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.”
“Doesn’t matter,” I say, “the medication for my arrhythmia makes me photosensitive. I can get a sunburn in the dark.”
My friend claps her hands, “Let’s go!”
I slip the sunscreen into my backpack while retrieving my nose spray from the outside pocket. Then, two squirts in the left nostril.
“The leaves at the park are gonna kill me. Did they remove those yet?” I ask.
“I don’t think they remove leaves from a park.” She points out.
“Well, those leaves are just one big mold pile now. You should probably know that I’m crazy allergic to mold.” Two squirts in the right nostril. “It could trigger a 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 play against in doubles, 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 walk on the track at the high school.”
“No! What are you crazy? The park has a bathroom. I can’t go to the track where there’s no bathroom. Come to think of it—I should go now.”
“I’ll wait in the car,” my friend says, perhaps rolling her eyes.
When I run (walk) to the car, we finally pull out of my driveway.
“This is gonna be fun!” I say. I breathe in deeply, “Nothing like the smell of fresh air tinged with rain. I just love days like today. Great “walk in the park” weather.”
When we get to the end of my street, the skies open and unload a torrent of rain. It’s so fierce that my friend pulls to the curb and we wait for it to lighten up.
She takes a look at her watch, then over at me. “Wanna get some lunch?”
“Lunch? Now? Without my Lactaid . . . ?”