Even though summer has passed its peak and
the days are now getting shorter, daylight still comes very early. And as soon
as daylight hits my eyelids, I am hot to trot.
This morning I was awake
by 4:30 and was ready to be up and out by 5. But I had to wait, because my neighbor
and walking companion was back in town, and we had agreed to set out at our customary
time of 6. Ten minutes before that hour came I was standing in my driveway, anxiously
waiting to see if my neighbor would appear. Last week he overslept, and I had
Afterward I ragged him about not getting up on time.
He spends much of his life these days in Palm Springs, California, where I don't
think he takes early-morning walks. I told him that on the rare occasions when
he IS in town, one would think that he somehow could roll out of bed by 6 o'clock
just one day a week. He came back with some lame excuse that his clock was still
set to West Coast time, and that was why he was late.
He said he had
gotten up plenty early last week by West Coast time and missed me by just a few
minutes. He said that he then took off looking for me, but fast walker that I
am, he couldn't catch up! Now, if that's true, either I've gotten a lot faster
than I was just a couple of weeks ago or my neighbor set out a lot later than
just a few minutes after I did. I think the latter is true. In fact, I think it
was almost an hour later!
Anyway, this morning out he comes right on
time, a few minutes before 6, with a sheepish grin on his face. Being the good
fellow that I am, I made only a couple of jibes about him missing last week, then
let the subject drop.
The day was beautiful, and as we approached the
Plaza we encountered a lot of tourists also out for early walks. Warm weather
brings out the best in all of us, I suppose; but when the days start getting cold,
Santa Fe's early walkers sure do get scarce. I was on the verge of letting myself
feel superior to these "fair-weather walkers" when I noticed that almost all of
them seemed to be in better shape than I am.
might not walk in the early morning when it's cold out, I thought, but they're
sure doing something right. I finally figured that they must not spend much time
at the French Pastry Shop. Yeah, that was probably their secret. But if you can't
reap a reward after accomplishing some good cardiovascular task, what's the point
anyway? If you're not going to eat, then you don't need to exercise in the first
place, because there are no calories to burn!
Beneath this rationalization
I guess I was feeling guilty about stopping at the pastry shop. I knew that the
stop would just add to the chasm between my body shape and those of other walkers.
But I also knew I would stop there anyway.
So I needed a second excuse
to justify my wicked ways. And I came up with one. You just never know who you
might run into at the French Pastry Shop, I told myself. It's a well-known place,
and Santa Fe is a well-known town. Somebody famous might walk in at any time.
I remembered going to the Cheese Cake Factory in Chicago three years ago, when
in came Muhammad Ali! That was one pastry stop I was glad I made.
my neighbor and I finished at the pastry shop-he with just a cup of coffee, but
I, as usual, unable to resist a peach roll as well-we headed home. He still had
spring in his step, but I was by now lugging a full stomach, and was doubly disappointed
because I had seen no one famous to make it all worthwhile
first three blocks from the shop are uphill, and, boy, did I feel it. Then suddenly
a little elderly man, who seemed at least 15 years older than I am, zipped right
past me. As he did, he cheerily wished me a good morning. I would have done the
same to him, but I was breathing so hard I couldn't get the words out. Next week
I'll try to be stronger.
Have a great day.