The Logical Philosopher

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The day I almost got schooled by old ladies

This week I almost got schooled by a group of walking ladies. Similar to "almost pregnant" I say because I was poised and ready but managed to pull away and avoid crisis at the last moment. Whew. It was that close.

I was heading downtown and encountered a group of ladies, each one gripping two long walking sticks in each hand. They were all elderly, but nonetheless were buzzing with excitement around a younger, very fit blond who was fully outfitted with workout gear. Most of her outerwear was embroidered with "North Shore Walking Club". As I stood waiting for the light to change I heard her instructing all of the group on the necessity of "firm, yet controlled pole strikes" on each portion of the stride.

"Great," I thought. "Multiple Ironman triathlete finisher stuck behind a bunch of old walking ladies." I sat there wondering that although one may be engrossed with the hobby of power walking, what's up with the sticks? Do they use carbon for lightness or stiffness? Do they all talk about stick components? Do they have a weight restriction for Olympic walking sticks? I could almost hear them saying "Ohh, this one walks like it's on rails."

I looked across the street and out of the corner of my eye saw a yellow light and braced with anticipation at our turn to walk. I decided there was no way I was going to get behind this group or I'd never get past them once they started. Besides, I have found old people with pointy sticks on the roadway are not a good combination when I'm involved.

Suddenly, this particular crosswalk in the westcoast of Canada was transformed into my own little Serengeti. As the light turned green and I was off like a gazelle, being chased by some really old lions. Old lions with pointy sticks that is. BUT, about half way across the road the blond blew by me. Phewwwww! I was momentarily stunned as she, with her workout top complete with the bold lettering "MASTER WALKER" embroidered on the back of her outfit, pulled away with ease. Damn she was fast. She was chanting her mantra loudly to the group behind her "Plant pole. Heel, toe. Push pole. Repeat!"

I reached the other side of the road and took an immediate turn, hoping not to get schooled by the rest of the old walking group. I stopped to look, the Master Walker's mantra slowly fading into the next block, yet her students were not even half way across the intersection. With sticks not as so much planting as clacking back and forth against each other, they all chattered with confusion. "Plant? Pole? Toe? Push? Heel? Pole?" "Am I planting the pole or toe?" "Did we leave Mary behind?" "Where'd she go?"

As they finally reached the other side of the street, the light had already changed yet the threatening clang of the pointy sticks seeming to calm, or scare, the drivers from honking. Their Master Walker gone, they stopped and chatted amongst themselves, ultimately deciding "Let's just go for tea!"

After thinking about it I should have started to chant "Plant pole. Heel toe. Push pole. Repeat!" Like lost ducklings that latch onto a new mothers quack, I could have made it home with a sord of old lady ducklings in tow. Although the kids would have liked the new batch of grandmothers, my wife probably wouldn’t have been as happy. "Great news honey, eight new mother-in-laws to help out at home!" All in all, perhaps a good thing I didn’t do my chant.