Don’t Pity me Because I walk everywhere: I am a cool New Yorker like that
Every day I wake up to the sound of a little boy saying “mom, mom, mom. Are you awake.” Groggily I get up and go heat some milk up for him and make some café con leche (coffee with milk) for myself. Sometimes I get close to pouring wine into the coffee filters, other times I wash myself with shampoo. Every morning is a daily crapshoot. I may leave with conditioner in my hair, my shoes on the wrong feet or I may be perfectly attired. It’s a wonder how I manage to walk two miles a day without bumping my head every 50 feet or so.
Despite my grogginess, every morning I have to get my son ready to school as well. Somehow I manage to get that done well. Of course, I leave myself post-it note reminders all over the house if I need to pack him lunch or give him bake sale money. Regardless, he makes it to school in spiffy shape.
We walk every morning to his school. I don’t drive and it is not far. However, this never-ending polar vortex has made the 5 minute walk a daily living hell of a walk. Every day we are climbing through snow mountains -ok maybe they are more like hills, but still. Every day, we shuffle our booted-feet across the ice sheets. Every day, we wait countless minutes to cross the avenue while cars keep turning on red. Luckily, despite my morning grogginess, I have the wherewithal to watch out for cars that are likely to run a light so that they can get a minute faster to the job that they hate. I think I sounded a bit cranky there.
As we wait to cross the avenue, a number of yellow school buses pass by that oftentimes have my son’s classmates aboard. They bang on the windows and scream out his name. He gets a kick out of being a local rock star. The thing is, they are screaming at him because it is such a rare sight for them. They all display signs of pity when they ask me why Luka and I are walking to school. I tell them it doesn’t make sense to drive the two blocks to school. They look aghast. So, my son and I are the sorrowful pair trudging through the snow without a one-horse open sleigh.
When we get to his school, I swap off his boots for sneakers. The kids and even some adults gather around as if I were telling a campfire story. I always look at them all and smile. My son explains to them that he is switching to his shoes. Meanwhile more kids get dropped off by another caravan of busses. I want to say to them that as I New Yorker I am a proud walker. But I’m afraid they would think I am referring to the television show “the walking dead.” I don’t need a zombie rumor following us around as well. I can imagine my son being shunned for fear that they too will become “walkers.” So, I just keep on smiling.
When it is time for them to line up for the school bell, I kiss him goodbye and head out. Out I go to walk the 8 minutes to the train station. At times, the ice sheets have been quite treacherous. However, I see it as a daily exercise challenge. I have very strong calves as a result. I can out run any of those mothers any day or any time. As I walk towards the train station, the caravan of parents often makes little pit stops where they pull over and ask me if I am ok and if I need a ride. I believe they are well-meaning. I really do. However, it does get a bit tiresome to explain every day that I actually like walking and see it as a way to stay physically fit. While I love dropping my son off at work every morning because it affords us a little mommy and son time to start the day off, I find the never-ending walking explanations I must give, to be a bit of a chore. I am thinking of wearing a tent sign that says
“I’m ok walking. Thank you for your concern. But please there is no need to pity me.”
As far back as I can remember, I recall walking everywhere. I barely have any childhood memories of being in a car. I wonder if other New Yorkers have such memories or lack thereof as well. On the weekends, we often take little road trip. Thus my son gets plenty of car time. He has gone through a cross-Canada road trip even. Thus, he is quintessentially American in having already experienced road trips. He is also quintessentially a New Yorker using his little feet to power hi around.
There you have it. We love walking in the mornings. We can do without the polar vortex making our walk harder than it has to be. I suppose it builds character. We can also do without the pitiful stares. As Digable Planets noted in the song “rebirth of slick (cool like dat)”
Check it out man I groove like dat
I’m smooth like dat
I jive like dat
I roll like dat
Don’t pity us because we walk. We are just cool like that.
Inspired by the daily prompt of: Back on the Chain Gang