Last week I started walking at 5:30 a.m. That is not a typo, I'm honestly getting up at 5:30 in the morning. I thought that returning to work was a good time to return to working out and, since I hadn't done much exercise since pushing out that 8 pound bowling ball, I started with something gentle like a walk around my neighborhood. The problem is my neighborhood is pitch dark at 5:30 a.m. I'm talking black hole dark. There are no street lights, no star shine, no moonlight, no traffic lights, no laser beams, nada.
The first morning I was so startled by the darkness I tip toed along the sidewalk for fear of falling over and breaking my leg. I'd probably burn just as many calories making something to eat. But, it's the thought that counts, right?
Besides my fear of injury I was also petrified that a crack head would jump out of the bushes and attack me for my ipod. Now, I don't live in a crack head infested area, but you never know where danger might lurk. One minute you're living in Mayberry and the next it's New Jack City. Anyway, it was with my mind on would be attackers that I was indeed molested. As I was pounding along to Pump Up the Volume someone suddenly grabbed for me and my ipod ( I knew this ipod was going to get me in trouble)! After a brief scuffle I realized my mugger was actually a crepe myrtle packing some serious branches.
After disentangling myself from the "Myrtle" the rest of my walk was fairly uneventful. Thanks to my brush with death..er...shrubbery my heart rate finally sped up. I wonder if an accelerated heartbeat stemming from fright burns calories? Again, A for effort, right?
The second morning was completely uneventful save for the continued darkness and myrtle the molester. So today, the third day, I left my house feeling almost good that I was up and "working out" at 5:30 a.m. Almost. This walking thing is a piece of cake, but for some reason, today seemed darker and lonelier than normal. It also seemed more crowded on the sidewalk because this was our "big trash pick-up" week and heaps of neighborly refuse blocked my path at every turn. I almost collided with a vacuum cleaner box and did knock over a cracked, plastic shelving unit. The more debris I had to maneuver around the crankier I got. Then the paranoia set in.
I began to suspect I was being followed (by someone after my ipod) as headlights illuminated the night and the sound of an engine came roaring out of the dark void. The car passed slowly by me and I was convinced they were casing me, but they continued on down the road. At least I know for sure no crepe myrtle can drive a car.
As I rounded the corner I marveled at the emptiness of the streets. I felt several emotions all at once: superiority (for being so very dedicated to exercise!); pitiful because I'm the only person on the planet up at that hour; fear that someone would shove me into the brambles and take my ipod; and a vague resentment toward my husband because somehow it's his fault I have to work out before the sun comes up. Then, suddenly, I saw headlights coming at me and totally panicked. I was pretty sure this was the car that had passed me earlier and they were coming to get me- heading me off at the pass if you will. I slowed my pace (meaning I practically stopped dead in my tracks cause I was hardly moving to begin with) and tried to formulate a plan.
Plan 1-When my assailant jumps out at me I can run to the nearest front door and scream, "Fire!" Plan 2- throw my ipod at them and fall into the fetal position on the nearest front yard. But, before I could yell fire or duck and cover, the car, which was really a truck, passed by me and I caught a glimpse of a 90 year old man behind the wheel. Thank goodness! Although, I was pretty sure I could take that old dude. I have been working out, after all.
Now that I had triumphed over the criminal element, avoided the lethal crepe myrtle, and side-stepped piles of big trash pick-up, I started feeling invincible--this must be the "walker's high" I've heard about.
"Because We Can" from Moulin Rouge began to play in my ears and as I heard the fast-paced "Yes, I can can, can!" I picked up my own pace and was practically fast walking when all of a sudden my toe caught a bump in the sidewalk and I pitched forward into the dark abyss, thinking "No, I can't, can't, can't!!!!" as I bounced, yes bounced, across the gritty concrete. First knee, then hand, then gut. Imagine a jumbo jet coming in for a crash landing, taking a bounce then skidding to a halt, it's belly sending up sparks as it grates along the tarmac. That was me.
I sat up instantly and let out what I must admit was a whimper. I'd just started feeling better about this midnight safari when this happens! Damn you, Universe! I consoled myself with the knowledge no one was around to see me crash land. Then I heard, "Are you alright?"
You've got to be kidding me. There wasn't a soul around until the moment I take a nose dive into the concrete! Why? Why?! I could be on the moon, utterly devoid of other human life, catch my moon boot on the edge of a moon rock, crack my moon helmet on another moon rock and out would pop an alien to say, "Are you alright?" Ugh. The answer to this question is always..."Yes."
It was still so dark I couldn't see who'd spoken to me which was sort of disorienting. I wasn't sure if the disembodied voice was expecting more conversation so I nervously began to elaborate on my trip down to the pavement. "It's just pitch dark out here." As if this really explained anything. As if this person wanted an explanation.
I wish people would ignore it when I fall over. See, it kind of happens a lot to me. I could be at a complete standstill and topple over for no apparent reason. It's almost like a talent.
If you see me take a fall, please leave me for dead. If I'm not dead, but merely severely injured, then please leave me to save myself. I assure you even if I broke my leg I still don't want any help. I will gnaw off my leg, throw it over my shoulder, and hop to safety. Just please, please, do not acknowledge my wipe out.
It's far more courteous to ignore some one's loss to gravity than to look after their well being. Trust me.
I think tomorrow I'll just walk around my living room because at least if I fall no one will see it at 5:30 a.m. in the morning. At least, I don't think they will. And there are no crepe myrtles in my house.