Life in the Slow Lane

For the first time in 9+ weeks since I injured my right knee, I awoke this morning and felt my knee was finally looking normal again. It had a nice dimple on the inside of my knee where it used to be swollen with fluid. I still get a little pain from time to time, but I think that is a good warning to never run again.

To celebrate the return of my knee dimple, I took an early morning walk without the dog. I could walk at whatever pace I wanted for a change. Little did I know I would be race-walking.

As I headed north on one street, I found myself less than 1/10th of a mile behind a middle-aged woman who was also walking. The race was on. Does it count as a race if the other person doesn’t know they are racing? Little did I know that I was not only racing to finish first, but also to preserve my pride and retain what little dignity I could find.

I used to be the guy that walked faster than everyone through the airport. I did notice that the last time I was in an airport in the fall of 2019, I was being passed – regularly. I dismissed that as not having to rush, so I wasn’t really trying. I was sure I would catch up to the woman within a half mile.

Sure, I had gained ground by the half mile mark (the end of the street), but I was still behind. And this woman wasn’t walking. She hobbled quite a bit. It was a half walk-half hobble. Let’s call it a wabble. It wasn’t pretty, but she stayed ahead of me.

She turned the same direction I would be walking. That gave me less than a quarter mile to catch her before I knew I would be turning to head home. I made it close enough to pull almost even so that she noticed me and said, “Good morning.” I thought, “Sure, good for you. You just won.” Instead, I cheerily replied, “Good morning” and headed home.

So, I lost the race to a wabbling lady. In addition, as I pulled close to her, I could see her right leg was noticeably smaller than her left leg, probably the reason for her wabble. So, I lost the race to a physically-challenged wabbling lady.

In addition, I noted she was wearing a tee shirt and shorts on a chilly morning while I had a sweatshirt on. She was tougher than me, too. And had more endurance! As I turned off to return home, she continued on the path that would add more mileage to her walk.

I have decided that it wasn’t really a race since she didn’t know she was racing against me, so I didn’t actually lose the race if there wasn’t one. Her lack of a jacket over her tee shirt is obviously due to menopausal hot flashes (good name for a band). She probably took the longer route to get to her parked car just around the bend. And she didn’t have a smaller right leg but a larger, abnormally-muscled left leg that caused her wabble.

I think I have successfully turned that loss into a “did not race.” And the rest of my logic would make Trump Administration officials jealous. I didn’t lose the race. I still have my pride. As for dignity, it turns out I haven’t had any for years.