Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Walk Thoughts #147: 5/2 in which I meet an old woman

Yesterday's walk was a long one, but it had several high points, including some encounters and conversations that I had throughout the first two-thirds of the day.

In this set of photos,* you'll see a picture of an old woman who was initially walking faster than I was. I could tell she was gaining on me because the canned music coming out of her cell phone was getting louder (I've found that many walkers and bikers love their canned music, which they use to shut out the noise of the world speaking to them). Once she caught up with me, she slowed to my pace, and we talked about my walk.

She asked the usual questions that I've come to expect: where did you start from? Where are you going? How long ago did you start? How long will the whole trip take? What are you doing for food? Where are you sleeping every night? No one ever asks why I'm doing this walk; people seem to be more interested in scale than in motives. I wonder what that says about their mindset. Maybe they assume that there's just something given about saying, You know what? Today, I do believe I'll walk across the country!

I asked the woman what she was doing. "Exercise," she said, but she had no ambitions to put in fifty thousand steps. In fact, she suddenly stopped and said she had to turn around so she could get to the day's work. An abrupt ending to a pleasant exchange. Except for the part where she told me I really needed to get married.

I'm far enough south that I'm back in the land of the southern accent, with its quasi-Japanese stress and intonation (don't tell the local Koreans I said that). Something about this style of speech gets on my nerves in a way that the American Southern twang doesn't. I never got used to it when I lived in Daegu, and it's still hard for me to follow.


*I had a set of pics to go with this narrative, but my Blogger app ate them, and I'd already deleted the originals from the phone's memory. So you'll just have to imagine the old woman, I'm afraid: stocky and smiling, with short, perfectly black hair.


Surprises Aplenty said...

I consider myself an adventurer. Or maybe I did. As a middle-aged man with a child I find myself more adventure-adverse these days. Anyway, I have completed long trips for no especially good reason.

Other than losing weight and general exercise, adventure, exploration (these are all good motivations) I cannot recall a specific motive for your walk. And yet I read your blog daily.

You think things through in a way I do not. when I traveled across Canada, I did so to see the country and ...well, that is almost the only reason. I did read a book on Canadian history and claimed that I wanted to learn about Canada by seeing it, but that was a tacked on reason, sort of a resume filler.

Your walking trip across the US had a distinct theme and I liked it. I am not any sort of businessperson but I could see how such a walk might lead to a book or a speaking tour, in addition to continuing a field of study you find fascinating.

Perhaps because I do not need an explainable motive for such a journey, if you wrote about one, I skimmed over it oblivious.

Kevin Kim said...


Thoughtful comment, as always. In one of my earlier walk thoughts, now buried under a pile of posts, I did go over my motivations for this walk. Some of those motivations were easy to articulate; some still are not.