Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bossy Betty Goes For a Walk Through the Richly Decorated Interior of Her Mind

I am sure it is in some Nordic Walker's creed somewhere that the Nordic walking poles should never be used as instruments of violence, and yet if I hear one more yahoo yell out "Lookin' for snow?" at me when I have my poles strapped on, I just may break that creed. I even prefer the looks of pity I receive from those people who glance over and think "Oh, that person needs not just one but TWO walking aides" to the snow comments. (I think Dan wanted to wear scrubs and a plastic name plate when he first went out with me and my poles.) The fact is Nordic Walking DOES look geeky, but this is the price we pioneers of the sport must pay. We are the visionaries, the prophets of the poles who must lead our people across the deserts of exercise ignorance, no matter the stares or taunting.

When I first started walking with my poles, I did it early in the morning when it was still semi-dark and no one was out. The trouble was that I seemed to make a lot of noise, plopping my poles down with every step. Through the fog, I looked up and caught a glimpse of a sleep-bedraggled man in an upstairs bedroom window, curtains swept back to catch a glimpse of the mysterious quadra-ped lurching its way through the early morning mist. "Get over here and see this," I imagine him telling his wife who punches her pillow down and says,"Stop it, Harry. I'll get up when I'm darn good and ready. Go downstairs and pour yourself some Cheerios."

So I went on an on-line forum community of Nordic Walkers (most of them Europeans) to tell them of my noise problem and was immediately chided quite severely (darn European know-it-alls) for stabbing my poles into the pavement instead of lightly touching them down. One very concerned man took this tact: "Grip your the handles of your lightly as though they are small sparrows, never clutching them, merely caressing them, calming them, and swing your poles lightly forward." OH OH. Those sparrows are goners, baby. I've got a lot of trouble with that whole "light touch" thing. Just ask the people in my office wing who believe I am in there typesetting my e-mails with with a hot metal Linotype machine instead of the plastic campus-issued keyboard.

Also entered into evidence: this picture of my attempt at stenciling a border on my bathroom wall. To the left is the lightly mottled look described by the instructional booklet: "A soft touch is best for that fuzzy, muted, dreamlike look." To the right is how the crafts fiesta ended after one lap around the room with my brushes and paints. I think you can see that instead of lightly grasping the stencil brush between my slender fingers, I was gripping it like a killer with a butcher knife and a bad case of rage. (In fact, I had no rage at all! I was thoroughly enjoying myself as I was pounding away, swigging down my second gallon of Diet Pepsi, thinking , "Oh, man! This is fantastic! I am so GREAT at art!")

I reflect back to the early days of our marriage when I actually enjoyed playing house and putting away the dishes. I hummed happily as I grabbed dishes and glasses and stocked those cupboards with zeal. One day as I was doing this Dan came out and said crossly, "Are you making a statement with all that noise?"

This makes me think. Do I use this heavy touch with all I do? Am I destined to live life as the Leadened-Handed Woman who mothers hide their newborns from lest I touch the throbbing fontanels of their offspring? Will it get worse as I age? Will I be one of the old women standing in line at the bank with caked-on makeup and bright lipstick heavily coating her lips, teeth AND her deeply-creased phitrum? Will my pets begin to hide from me fearing spinal cord injuries? And here's the question that comes creeping up across the floor of my brain, like strange, forgotten reptile leaping up, begging to be acknowledged: Do I do this in a metaphorical sense as well? Am I too blunt with people? Am I the well-meaning, but socially inept aunt only invited to weddings out of familial obligation? "She can come, but for heaven's sake, seat her in the back and DON'T let her talk to anyone!" Am I the hyperactive kangaroo at the party for the polite flamingos?

OH OH. This is too much for Betty's brain to handle on this fine Saturday morning. I need to go do something domestic: to wash clothes, to clean, to bake. Yes, I'll bake. That will calm me down. I have a new recipe that takes crushed graham crackers. All I need is that pretty apron in the kitchen and that sledgehammer in the garage and I'm all set for a lovely day of baking.


Anonymous said...

I don't think you have the nordic thing down yet sister. I can give you a tutorial.

Anonymous said...

WoW! You actually got on and made a comment! I am impressed! Did Alyssa give YOU a tutorial of some kind?

Happy Homemaker said...

Ummmm...Betty, I believe that "light touched" side of the stenciling was done by yours truely. I think given the choice, the newborns will be passed over to me! :)

Bossy Betty said...

OH! Could it be that Betty's mind slipped and did not recall the light touch of your lovely hand? Hummmmm....I believe I took over after the first couple of blocks and you gracefully exited taking my lovely children with you. Does this mean I am not a hyperactive kangaroo? Does it? Does it? Huh??? Huh???

peripatetic girl said...

pole walking can only be graceful, and btw, it is ALL the rage in Scandanavia (no idea how to spell that). You rock, Betty.