Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition

Nobody ever expects the morning runner (or in my case the morning shuffle-alonger), either.

Today as I was motivatin' over the hill,* I neared a house with a front door that had two big panes of glass in it.  I could see a woman standing there, but she didn't see me.  She didn't even look.  Instead she opened the door and released a small cha-wow-wow dog.**  This dog's name, as I soon learned, is "Precious."***

Unlike the woman who opened the door, Precious saw me and took an immediate and intense dislike to me.  She charged across the lawn in full cha-wow-wow attack mode, yipping all the way.

"Precious!  Precious!  You come back here!" the woman in the doorway yelled.

Precious either didn't hear her or didn't care.  She had her target, and she wasn't going to be dissuaded.

At one time, I would simply have increased my speed and left Precious in my dust, but that was then, and this was now.  I have one speed, slow, and that's all there is.  I do, however, have persistence.  I figured I could outlast Precious, or maybe another dog would come along and distract her before she could nip my ankles off.

And sure enough I could. Eventually the cries of "Precious, come back here!" faded behind me, and Precious gave up the chase.  I don't know if she got back home safely.  I guess I didn't really care.

*There are no hills in Alvin.  I just can't resist a gratuitous Chuck Berry allusion.

**I can never resist a gratuitous Twin Peaks allusion, either.

***"Precious" is also the name of Pam Crider's animal companion.  Her Precious is small but is not a cha-wow-wow.  Her grandson persuaded my brother to buy Precious at a flea market some years ago, but that's another story.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Morning Stroll

This morning when I was out for my usual run (or, more accurately, my old-man shuffle-along), some guy standing on his front porch called out, "Taking a morning stroll, I see." Now the rule that we runners (or shufflers) follow in Texas is, never make a rude gesture or comment because the other guy is probably armed." So I just said, "Sure am," and kept on shuffling.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm Gaining. Or Not.

Every morning I go out for what I like to call “a run.” It’s not really a run. It’s not even a jog. It’s more like shuffling along. But anyway, I go out, and for a man of my advanced years, that’s not too bad. (And don't go telling me about Ronnie Ward and all his Iron Man trophies. He's younger than I am, and Acree-trained, besides.)

Some mornings, I see other people out getting exercise, and today was one of those days. The person was too far ahead of me to make out much about him (or her), and in cases like that I like to test myself by seeing if I can gain any ground on her (or him). So I start shuffling a little faster, although “faster” isn’t exactly the right word to use in this context. Today it was a struggle, but I found that after a while I was gaining a little bit, not much, but enough to encourage me. I tried to pick up the pace, and eventually I found that I’d gained some more. Still not much, but at least I was gaining. The old guy still had it! Or so I thought until I finally realized that the person was walking toward me instead of away from me. I knew I’d slowed down a lot, but this is ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Staying on the Left Side, which Is Right

It's about time for my annual update to this blog.  You probably thought I'd forgotten about it, but I haven't.  I'm just lazy.

In the little town where I grew up, my grandparents on my mother's side lived only a couple of blocks from us.  We'd go to visit them just about every day.  When I was a little kid, probably around eight or ten, my grandmother would occasionally take me and my sister (and maybe my brother, too. I'm not sure about him.  I think he was too young) for a walk in the late afternoon.  We'd walk just a short distance, though it seemed pretty far at the time, from her yard to a spot near the railroad tracks.  There was a concrete square there, with a low concrete wall on three sides, where someone, probably the railroad, kept piles of gravel of two or three sizes.  

We always walked on the left side of the street.  When we reached the gravel piles, my grandmother would let us mess around in them for a while, and then we'd cross the street (after looking both ways) and walk back to her house.

There were two things she'd say to us every time.  One was about crossing the street.  "Always look both ways before crossing the street," as you might have guessed from the parenthetical comment just above.  The other was, "When you're walking and there's no sidewalk, always face the approaching car."  I can still her her saying it even now.  She must have said it every time we went for the little walk.  Anyway, it stuck with me.  Something similar was even on the book covers that they gave us each year in grade school.  With a handy illustration in case you needed help figuring it out. (Do people use book covers anymore? Probably not.) 

People could use those book covers now, though.  The little rule that I learned so young seems to have been completely forgotten.  I must be the only person in the world whose grandmother laid down the rules for him or who saw those book covers because every single person I see walking or jogging is on the wrong side of the street.  Every single one of them.  This bothers me, and not just because I'm OCD.  It bothers me because it seems dangerous, especially on narrow streets with no shoulders, which is just about every street in Alvin, Texas.  It's scary enough to encounter a car on them when you're facing it.

There's nothing I can do about it, though.  I'm not going to tell people that they're in the wrong.  This is Texas.  They might be armed.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What's Going On?

Here's something that happens all too often.  So far this year, three times, I believe.  

I'll be shuffling along at my usual old man's pace and I'll see a car stopped at a stop sign on a side street a block or two blocks away.  

I keep shuffling.  

The car doesn't move.

I can guarantee one thing, however.  As soon as I get just about in front of the car, it will move forward.  Until then, the driver is completely unaware of me, or of anything else as far as I know.

Because of my experience in these matters, I've avoided being hurt, mainly because I turn and go around the car.  Or I would if it just stayed put.  It never does, though.  It invariably takes off when I get there.

So the question is, what's the driver doing until I arrive?  If I were paranoid, I'd think he was waiting for me, but I'm not paranoid.  What does that leave?  Texting?  Talking on the phone?  Daydreaming?  Napping?

I don't know, but today there happened to be a car coming in my direction down the street I was on.  I thought sure there was going to be a collision, but the driver on the cross street woke up or quit texting in time to stop the car.  I went on around and on my shuffling way.

Monday, September 03, 2012

New Word

My jogging pace has inspired me to create a new verb: to tudball, as in "Today I tudballed for about 40 minutes."