If memory serves me correctly, and it seldom does, the builder of our development said something about a future hiking path becoming a key feature in our lifestyle.
That was six years ago. There is no hiking path. There is a swamp-like trail in back of our house, but the only ones accessing it are those thundering by on all-terrain vehicles. Yes, I could on walk that ”path,” but the remote chance of being obliterated by an ATV or sinking waist-deep in mud leaves me no choice but to head out on the sidewalks. Those, however, are not devoid of danger.
I. Dogs. I swear I must give off the essence of Milk Bone because if a dog is there, allegedly being watched by its owner, it will inevitably tear away from said owner and come sniff me in places I really don’t want to be sniffed. And the owner will say, “Old Max won’t hurt you.”
Try standing eye to eye with a Great Dane you don’t know and not see your life pass before you. Or try smiling while a yippy Shitz-Tzu dances at your ankle, its mouth wide open, and see if you’re not thinking about a sleep-deprived ER doctor sewing you up.
2. Children on Skateboards. There must be 800 children in our development and 795 are the best-behaved kids ever. But there are five who decide as I tread near their area, “Let’s skateboard right up to Granny at warp speed and scare the living daylights out of her.”
I’m pretty sure that if they could get away with it, the bunch of them would become a sidewalk performance troupe and do flips that would land them not back on their boards, but on me. So far that hasn’t happened, but their favorite moment came when I stepped on goose poop in wet grass in order to avoid them. I didn’t think kids could laugh so hard.
3. Little Children on Big Wheels. These are the same children whose arrivals were announced just last year by seven-foot wooden storks on their front lawns. Now they’ve learned to navigate plastic devices on wheels, and one day soon I am going to happen by at the precise moment the combined weight of a 24-pound child on a 12-pound red and yellow missile shoots down the driveway and into my leg. I’ve narrowly escaped.
4. Power Walkers. I dare not power walk. If at my age I walked faster than sloth pace, I’d probably have a heart attack. However, the parents of those 800 kids in our development are young enough to walk at a speed only Seabiscuit could have matched. Each time I venture out I hear, “Coming by,” by someone in a tank top and Spandex shorts, and jump out of the way just before I’m hit by one of their swinging elbows.
But it’s not only the young who scare me. I know one of these days the following is going to happen: an octogenarian using a walker will grunt, “Coming by,” as he cruises past me, and I’ll trip over him and his walker.
An older man on a bike already shocked me when he yelled from the road, “Step lively, Lady!” Turned out to be my husband.
I am not giving up though. Each walk, according to my pedometer, burns 73 calories, and I want to break 100 so I can eat the equivalent in Twinkies when I get home.