Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I am a speedy walker, but the other day, while jog-walking to the library, I was forced nearly to a halt behind a shuffling, stooped old man in a cloth cap. I caught up with him on the footpath but was lamentably unable to overtake.
I was in no particular hurry; I took minute steps at a reasonable distance behind him and expected that our paths would soon diverge.
He was preoccupied with shielding his face from the sun with a piece of paper, and he did not notice my shadow.
On he went, and on I went, and on we went more or less together. He pressed four traffic light buttons that I otherwise would have pressed, and drifted through four pedestrian walkways that were on my route. I trailed after him at a pace not really a pace, one that defied all scientific law.
I started to consider that he might, after all, be going to the library, a point almost two miles from where we had met.
The old man turned left at the library. I, relieved, swung right, with enormous strides, and tore away up the street.
I spent a curious-shaped amount of time inside the dusty vaults of the library. And when I did, eventually, set out again, I was alarmed to find myself slowing to a worm's pace behind a shuffling, stooped old man in a cloth cap- a fellow who looked positively familiar and whose gait was unparalleled.
It was a long walk home.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 4:19 PM