Wednesday 27 March 2013

Normal Is

I had to drop the car off to get its semi annual check up at 7:30 AM. I don’t mind getting up early, but I have gotten used to easing into the day just a little slower now that I am retired. They have a drop off service, but since I could use the exercise I decided to walk home. It is only about 40 – 45 minutes and I can’t think of a better way to start the morning.

I know there are better ways, but as I become older, my options are limited. Most of the walking that I do now is with Buster and although any kind of walking is good for you, the starts and stops of a dog trying to find the best place to pee (everywhere) keeps me from getting a good work out. I can remember from my letter carrier days that the first fifteen minutes it can be pretty cold, but after that, your internal fire seems to kick in and you stay quite warm.

There is a coffee shop close to home and I thought it would be a good time to stop and watch all of the worker bees on their way to work after my walk. I came up to the door and there was my neighbour and his son stopping to get a coffee on the way to work. He asked if I was just out for a walk and I told him about dropping off the car for servicing. He asked where I dropped it off and when I told him he was just dumbfounded. It was very much like a deer caught in the headlights. It would never occur to him to walk all that way. He is a car guy after all and his idea of a long walk is when he parks his Corvette at the far end of the parking lot so that it doesn’t get scratched or dinged. We got our coffees and went our separate ways.

I guess everyone has things that they do which stun friends and acquaintances. Often I have mentioned that I am still in touch with the people I went to high school with and I will get this stunned look and a “WHY???” I’ve always liked hiking, and although I don’t do as much now as I used to, when I would mention on a Monday that I had been hiking on the weekend, I would just get blank stares. I guess that not all people who walk for a living also like to walk in their spare time.

You and I, we people, find it much more comfortable to do the same thing over and over and over again. Most of the time we don’t think about changing our lives at all. This isn’t a necessarily bad thing, it just is. There is an ancient Chinese curse that translates (very roughly) as “May you live in interesting times.” Uninteresting times would indicate peace and tranquility I suppose. Those people from the middle kingdom are pretty smart, but to be fair they have had thousands of years to learn.

Doing the same thing isn’t always bad. I have a buddy that is a bike riding fool and for the past few years (that I know of) he and his wife have done these massive rides of a thousand kilometres or more. Right now he is saying, “No, last year it was only 953 K.” I can remember him talking a few years back about how a friend of his is a real “hard core” cyclist. I just stared at him like a deer caught in the headlights. How hard core is this guy if my buddy thinks he is hard core? I guess normal is whatever it is that you do every day.

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