...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A concrete hike

The other morning I was out of sorts from the moment I woke up.  A number of negative circumstances had gotten the better of me.  I realized quickly that the usual trip to the fitness club would not help me straighten out my mind.

So I decided to go for a walk.  A long walk.

Using the fun walkjogrun site, I mapped out an extended voyage.  I wanted straight lines that I could follow without a map or a GPS.  I decided on walking to the tip of Seal Beach Pier and back.  Approximately 10.18 miles.

The wild card that hovered above the walk was the weather.  It was 90-95 degrees that day.

In 90+ degree weather, ice maintains its molecular structure better than I.  I sweat more than anyone else I know.  I don't tan, I crisp.  I dehydrate easily.  I have epic bouts of heat stroke (which occasionally include hallucinations).

Sounded like the perfect opportunity to test some of my boundaries.  So I applied sunscreen and strapped on a backpack with water, dry snacks, my cell phone, and a notebook.  And I walked.

It was nice to cross many miles of Long Beach that I'd never seen before.  Lots of parks, unique houses, and waterfront.  It was remarkably quiet everywhere, except inside my head.  But I didn't want to think, I wanted my head to be clear.  I hadn't eaten much that day, so I thought that maybe between the heat, the exertion, and the lack of sugar/calories I would be able to access an empty zone of consciousness.  But instead, the hamster in the creaky wheel inside my head was given a dose of amphetamines.  And on he charged.

Physically, the first 5 miles were pretty easy.  Seal Beach's Main Street was really nice.   By my count there were three Irish pubs, two pizza places, a Greek food stop, an Italian deli, a barbecue joint, a wine bar, a diner, two bakeries, 320 Main, and two antique shops.  All in three blocks.  It was a nice mid-point.  The pier was relatively clear.

I stopped for a snack, some water, and a look around.  The waves were roaring in nicely.  Lots of tanned skin and bikinis.  Some creepy black seagulls.  And lots of fishing poles.

And that's when I felt the blister on my left food and the throbbing ache in my right knee.  Jesus, I'm getting old.  Concrete is unforgiving on the muscles, tendons, joints, and bones.

Early on the walk back, I tried to take a shortcut, but wound up being rerouted backwards.  That added another third of a mile to my trip.  I figured that was some sort of metaphor.

Focusing on the road in front of me and really getting inside of the pain developing in my right knee, emptied me out.  The last two miles were silent, everywhere.  The exhaustion felt right.  It wasn't like struggling at the gym, because there one's just running in place.  There's no "F**k it, I'm done," here.  I needed to get home.

I may have alarmed some ladies walking their dogs.  Here, I was bearded (and not neatly so), stanky, in scuffed up clothes, and a little wobbly on my sticks.  Had I seen me, I probably would have gone out of my way to avoid me.

When I got home to the air conditioning, I stripped off my shoes and socks, and listened to my wife tell me about her day.  Okay, I didn't listen (sorry).  I watched her talk and thought about how much I loved her.  Her crazy-ass unemployed husband just went for a day-long journey by foot to some random place and came back limping and weird.  And she didn't even skip a beat.  It was just another day living with MK.

All those things that troubled me weren't gone, but they were sorted through, alphabetized, and filed in the right place.  There was less fission, but more Friday.

I didn't get sunburned.  (I assume) I hydrated appropriately.  My knee needed 48 hours before it was willing to do its job without complaint.  Though the pain made my body feel older, my brain felt younger.

I'm not sure why I'm posting this.  I have no pictures to prove this happened.  I have no sarcastic rejoinders.  It was just something I did.  And something I'll do again.