About a month ago, I was walking up a paved path, much like this famous Robert Crumb figure, to begin my shift at Longwood Garden’s Peirce–du Pont House, when a 15-year-old girl passed me like I was standing still. Yet she was casually walking, looking up at the trees, without a trace of exertion.
Fifteen-year-olds do everything quickly. Wait until she gets to be my age, and we’ll see how fast she is then. Ha!
But, just last week, the same thing happened again, same place, only now it was an out-of-condition woman in her 50s breezing by me. (I still think of myself in my 50s.) She, too, was just ambling along, looking up into the trees, with all the time in the world. I picked up my pace to keep up with her, but I felt like I was power-walking while she looked like she was just out for a stroll. I was soon getting out of breath. She wasn’t.
There are few places where we can compare our walking speed with other people. The Ocean City boardwalk is the only other place I can think of off-hand, at least with those who are not holding napkins and snacking as they walk (which eliminates 99% of them). Even on city streets, people are moving erratically, rushing to a bus, or slowing down to wave to friends, or waiting to cross the street.
So, now I am consciously walking faster wherever I go, just to get into the habit. I now know the problem, and the problem is me.
Or maybe not. No 80-year-old walks fast. John McCain doesn’t. Perhaps I should be grateful I am still upright.
Yes, that attitude is a lot better.