I don’t have a lot in common with people who run everywhere.
I’m not talking about people who jog, even though I don’t jog myself. In fact, if someone sees me running in any direction, I strongly encourage that person to stop and investigate what it is that has me in such a hurry. That way, I’ll have more time to get away.
The people to whom I’m referring literally run into establishments such as restaurants or grocery stores or other businesses, as though it’s moments away from closing and they have to get inside quickly despite the time of day. I’ve seen people hop out of their cars and dash into establishments as though their lives depend upon getting there. Sometimes I see people fully dressed in their business attire trotting down the road like they’re just seconds away from missing a bus or train, ignoring every means of transportation that passes. These are the ones who leave me scratching my head.
This is not to say I can’t move quickly when I need to do so. I like to plan store visits before heading out, utilizing the establishment’s website if such exists to determine the inventory I’ll need, and — if the info is provided on the web — where in the store it can be found. Places such as Lowe’s or Home Depot I have down to a science and rarely spend more than five or ten minutes inside, including checkout. I rarely browse, unless I’m checking out physical models of appliances or comparing one type of product to another. It’s the same with grocery stores. I check the layout, figure out where the item is I need, and get it quickly, then get out.
I have also jogged for exercise in the past, most notably when I was starting college in my late teens and twenties, though I could never stick with doing it. Walking has always been my preferred form of exercise and it’s been a large part of how I’ve improved my fitness and health in recent years. As a child, my grandmother and I used to walk into West End and spend an afternoon having lunch at Woolworth and visiting the toy department in Sears. By consistently pushing myself, setting and focusing on goals, I’ve managed to whittle my average pace to less than fourteen minutes per mile and my walking speed to at least four point five miles an hour or higher.
Among the health benefits of walking, there are significant side benefits to my state of mind and especially my writing. Walking helps me clear my head and get in touch with my thoughts and ideas. On a walk in the woods at Stone Mountain one morning, I developed the storyline for “Phoenix” the final tale in Fables of the New South and the play I adapted from it, Phoenix Rising: Christine. I even give a nod to my walks at Stone Mountain in the first chapter of Rebecca Too, when Alyssa Caine encounters the Storyteller.