Over the past few months I have been trying to walk on a more regular basis. Dr. Oz and my own doctor recommend some type of exercise each day and since I have my 35th High School reunion fast approaching and since the recent results of my blood cholesterol were disappointing I have made a commitment to walk for a minimum of thirty minutes each day. This should be doable - no fancy gym clothes needed, no need to drive to the gym, no excuses - just open the front door, pedometer in place and walk.
I have been walking for over 50 years so how difficult could this daily walking routine be? Making sure that my sneakers are tied tightly so I don't trip I set out. There are no sidewalks in my community, no traffic lights ~ just plain paved road. I follow the rules of walking, always walking on the left side of the road so the oncoming traffic can easily see me. I would be hard to miss. I am often pushing my grandsons in their stroller. An orange stroller. A double wide orange stroller carrying my twin grandsons. I start out pushing the boys down our country road when a gray Honda approaches. I expect that the driver is going to slow down and veer around me out of common courtesy. That's what I do when I see a pedestrian,horseback rider, or bike rider - I show courtesy and respect their space on the road. The driver of the Honda made no attempt to slow down or to veer away from me. As a matter of fact, she appeared to be almost playing a game of chicken with me. I pushed the stroller into the grass and raised my fist at the driver of the car. I stomped my sneaker on the pavement in anger. The health benefits of walking seemed to be diminishing.
I have continued walking and could write forever about the near misses I have had with vehicles who speed by me coming dangerously close. I shake my fist, I yell at them to slow down. I now wear brighter clothing and make sure my invisibility cloak is removed before I start my walk.
I refuse to hang up my sneakers so I have developed a few defensive strategies to protect me when I hit the road.
1. I have a walking stick which I often carry. When a car approaches I put the stick on my hip so that if the car gets too close they could lose some paint off of the side. Back away from the stick. I am considering putting a nail on the end of the stick so that it will guarantee a scratch on the car.
2. I have wondered what happens to a car's paint if I spray it with mace? Or Silly String? How silly would that be?
3. I frequently carry my camera with me when I walk so I can capture the perfect sunset but I also can capture license plate numbers. I just aim my camera at their car and snap ! Might just start a blog listing dangerous drivers.
Of course, I probably wouldn't really practice any of these defensive moves BUT I certainly have been tempted on way too many occasions. What I would really like is for all people just to be courteous as drivers, as walkers, as humans...and to share the road with this middle aged grammie who is walking to stay healthy.