18 May 2010

Along the road

Ah. What a day.

It's May. Mid-May to be precise. It's unseasonably chilly for So Cal, and this morning when I took the son to school, it was drizzling.

AT called me right around 7:45 am, just as I was shooing the spouse and the daughter out the door, to say that it was raining, and surely, we weren't going to walk in it.

"Ahem," I told her severely. "This is not rain. I will see you in 5 minutes."

I've known AT for years. Her daughter is the same age as the son and her son is the same age as the daughter, and for a long time, they all attended the same school. I still run into AT at events like Pentathlon, and in March, we fell into conversation about this and that, and then she suddenly announced that she'd like to go walking with me.

Now, my walk is sacred. It's my thinking time, my music-listening time, and people are always trying to horn in on it, particularly now that I can no longer run (it was easy to chase potential partners away by telling them that I ran 3 or 4 of my six miles. Not that they liked the six mile part). And all of these people are lovely people, and I like them all a great deal, but I like my alone time, too. Usually, they stick with me for a week, two at most, and give up, so I told AT, ok.  We would walk.

After our first walk, AT announced that she'd like to walk with me two days a week. She told me that for years, she'd been trying to find someone who exercises consistently to walk with her because she is the sort of person who will just not do it alone. "It's always some excuse with them," she complained. "So we never end up going."

And because the whole world sees me out there traversing my six miles, everyone knows I've been doing this forever.

Walking with AT isn't a hardship. She is cheerful company, and we have great conversations: about food, about our kids, about the vagaries of college admission, about the parties our teens are invited to attend, and about mothers and mothers-in-law. Then, too, since I'm always urging people to EXERCISE, DAMMIT! I decided it would be churlish of me to abandon her. So I reorganized my workout schedule, with the end result that I'm getting well over 2 hours of exercise two days a week in addition to the hour plus I get every other day of the week.

The real payoff, though, is the fact that AT is so incredibly gleeful that she's getting all this exercise. So there was no way I was letting her off the hook this morning.

She seemed a tiny bit grumpy when we started, but as the water dripped off my baseball cap, I chirped merrily about the weather and whatever else occurred to me. About halfway through the course that we travel, the sun peeked out momentarily and the clouds cleared for a few moments, though the drizzle started up again a bit later.

"You know," AT told me as we neared the parking lot where we meet on our walking mornings. "I've gone out in the rain because it was necessary, but not when it wasn't."

"See?" I replied. "It wasn't so bad. We're only a little damp. And you know me: no excuses."

"It's a red letter day," she grinned.

Go listen to some music: "Along the Road" from the album Phoenix by Dan Fogelberg. One of the recurring themes of our conversation is how much we can learn from the others in our world, and what a good thing that is. It's one of the very reasons that I consider myself blessed in the company that I'm privileged to keep.


Deb said...

If I lived closer, I would be SO much healthier. I'd invite myself to your meals and intrude on your walks and everything ... Be grateful for geography.

guerrilla girl said...

Yes, so move closer! I love to have you on my walks and I love to cook for people, which is why I do so much of it. Remember I even dreamed we were holding a barbecue in a hotel room? LOL