Skip the morning walk on a scorching summer Saturday

By Anthony Buccino

No need to feel guilty about not working out in the summer heat. Instead, find a cool spot in front of your computer and READ about walking and running. It's almost the same thing.

This morning I skipped my daily walk. I didnít skip instead of walk, I didnít walk at all as I have been walking every morning all week. It could be that today is hotter than itís been, but in the morning, itís not so hot, so, thatís a lame excuse. And I didnít skip the morning walk because Iím lame.

Zamboni, our chocolate Labrador retriever, likes long walks over short distancesZamboni, our chocolate Labrador Retriever, and I took his short morning walk. Itís short in distance but not in time. He turns ten in a few days and for him, a short distance is a now a long walk. Itís after I return him to the house and settle him in that I then embark on my own long walk over a long distance. 

For me, itís a long distance and a long walk, but for runners, Iíd say the distance is barely a warm-up to the time they might approach whatís called a runnerís high. I have nothing like a runnerís high when I walk. I do zone out, solve all the worldís problems and a few of my own.

It seems the longer I walk the stranger my thoughts become. I wonder of the song playing in my headset, ďhas this song just played? When did it start? Oh, I havenít heard this song in ages.Ē

Rarely do I see the same people walking when I am out and about. Sometimes we exchange a nod, sometimes they simply stare ahead as if I wasnít there. Whenever I am out and pass someone walking a dog, I always pause and say to the canine, ďhi, sweetheart!Ē in that annoying condescending voice people reserve for strangerís dogs.

Lately Iíve taken to walking in the street where the traffic is light. The streets around my home are much more even than the sidewalks, and there are no curbs to climb up and down. Occasionally, a car will come close enough for me to feel the breeze.

Other times, people slow down and wave at me. Between tinted windows, sun glare and not wearing my glasses Iím never quite sure if it is someone swearing at me for walking in the street. Is it someone I know, a fan, perhaps? Should I be waving back?

Nichols Park, Nutley NJ by Anthony BuccinoI choose to prefer it is someone who knows me. Or someone who thinks he knows me. As a local writer, I harbor the notion that Iím almost famous. But the fact is, Iím most often mistaken for a former Nutley assemblyman or one of his brothers. People have had whole conversations with me and ended with, ďand say hello to your brother Fred for me.Ē Fred may have brothers, but I do not.

While walking I see runners eke their path past me. I choose to save my running for when someone is chasing me. In fact, running skipped my generation in my family. The last time I ran was on the playing fields behind Soho Hospital in Belleville. Thatís about 40 years ago.

My daughter runs. She runs short races and half-marathons. I walk around the block and meet her in the bar afterwards. She is very serious about running, eating right and working out. My doctor told me to walk three hours a week. He didnít say anything about walking on weekends.

As for me, this morning I skipped my daily walk, and, instead retreated to air-conditioned comfort to make my confession on this hopeless little screen. Maybe when the weather cools off, Iíll see you around. Donít forget to wave.

First published Belleville Nutley Patch in June 2012

© 2012 Anthony Buccino


Running skipped a generation
in my family.
My kid runs, I donít.
Never have.
Always saved it for when
Somebodyís chasing me.

But the kid runs
Just to run
Like a race horse
On a grassy glen.

Wild horses donít need
Those metal shoes
We nail into their feet
They run just to run
And stand on two legs
To show their strength
The light glistening 
On smooth sweaty skin
Casting a long shadow.
That horse is high
On life itself.

Running by Anthony Buccino appears in The Edison Literary Review, Volume 9, Fall 2010

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