Three Weird Walking Habits I Took Up During the Pandemic
It’s been a year of trying to stay connected with faraway friends and family… and not strangling the loved ones you see all. day. long. Over the past year, taking hours-long walks (usually between 10–20k steps, 5–6 days a week) has regulated my mood, given me time to listen to all the things I need to for my day job, and kept my children’s bodies from morphing into wet noodles. But I’ve noticed that I’ve picked up some unusual habits while doing all this walking. I hope they continue well after we come out of hibernation.
Texting roadkill with my brother
My brother and I regularly text each other photos of roadkill that we come across while on long jaunts. Petrified frog pancakes, deer rib cages picked semi-clean, rats that look like half-flattened toothpaste tubes. They’re all fodder for showing my brother that I love him and I’m thinking of him. And that I know he shares my sense that if we don’t laugh at this horror-filled world and/or turn it into ironic art, we’re doomed. Although, I just couldn’t bring myself to photograph the dead possum — and her parcel of eight dead babies attached to her back — at the top of the hill where I like to take walks. That would have been taking our macabre yet affectionate practice one text too far.
Walking in sync with my daughter
There’s no destination when I walk with my kids. The goal is just to get as far away from screens as possible. Recently, the 10-year-old and I have been trying to walk in sync, for as long as possible. It’s not easy because, as she points out, her legs are shorter. I think she thinks we invented this pastime; I don’t have the heart to tell her that synchronized walking is a competitive practice in Japan and, back in the ’60s the Monkees managed to sing and walk simultaneously. I think that’s beyond us, but our tandem walking seems to promote mother-daughter harmony. The neuroscience backs up the benefits of our little practice too: When two people behave in a synchronized way, their brain activities are at the same time coupled, demonstrating the interbrain synchronization.” Cool!
Giving dogs human names
Apparently my son and I are not so special with this one. I hear that many people enjoy dog-spotting while pounding the pavement, whisperering to their companion, “That sheepdog is Leslie.” Or, “See the bloodhound? Gustav.” Sometimes this practice leads to actually adopting a dog. Friends who are getting a labradoodle (like everyone else in Brooklyn) have named it Phil. Our puppy is due to arrive next month. Her name is Lottie.
Please share your weird walking habits! I’d love to add to this list in 2021.