After he and my wife left (my wife decided to go with him this first day before she proceeded to her own school as teacher), I did a vital ritual in our CR. Then I wore my workout clothes and hit the streets. Then they appeared, one by one, in the partially dark early morning. I mean the walkers. These were people exercising early in the morning by walking slowly with bowed heads and didn't make any sound even if they sometimes almost rubbed elbows with each other.
They were like that at first, probably needed to focus on warming up. After having been warmed up, they come to life again. Well, this morning I was one of them. I also was a walker in some sense, starting slowly and quietly, not making any sound or even greeting anyone, except my neighbor, the Sprinkler. We were scattered in the street walking slowly like real zombies, and I was laughing to myself. So this is how it feels like to be a walker, I told myself.
Oh, and the Sprinkler. She was going out her gate just as I was starting my brisk walk warm up, pail of water in one hand and a dip with the other. She was ready to water whatever it was she planted in the street. She does that each morning--watering the street--for a year now. No growth yet. Sometimes I want to ask what she planted there.
Actually, it was my first time to brisk walk again in months. I had decided to just workout regularly at home with push-ups, pull-ups, squats and jogging in place, among others. But working out outdoors is still different. And I have to make use of the uphill climb our inclined streets here offer. They're great for bone strength. Because it was my "first time" again, I had to do everything slowly. So, today, it's just a brisk walk. After a while, I'd do my jogs.
I met Benjie and was delighted to see me back in the streets. I said, "First time again," as I quickly passed him by. He repeated my words: "First time again!" and chuckled a bit. Later, I met Paul, another jogging "classmate" of mine who never got rid of his fat belly though he regularly jogged. At least Benjie had some improvements.
Then much later, the other walkers came to life and started greeting me, "Good morning!"
I studied them each time I went past these joggers as I made rounds around the block. There were the two Ilocanos who I call the Dijay Duet because they discuss a lot of things with loud voices and hard accents as they do their slow walks each morning. Sometimes they seem like in a heated argument and almost ready to punch each other. They'd sometimes stop to watch me do my arnis kata and shadow boxing and later applaud.
There is this snobbish guy with a bulging tummy who looks like my classmate in grade school at St. Patrick. So I call him "Snob Classmate" in my mind. Then there's another one--I call him "Marathon man" because he once ran in marathons. He'd often do brisk walks with his friendly German Shepherds. A lot of my other jogging classmates are not around anymore. I wonder where they are.
This morning there were newcomers. There was this young skinny girl whose flat rubber shoes had hard, concrete-like soles that made her steps too loud. I wanted to tell her that she had the wrong pairs of running shoes, but I had no business doing that. I guess she wants to achieve a sexy body form so she thinks running and walking would help her do it. How did I arrive at this conclusion? Well, by the way she walks. But I don't think she needs to run more than she needs to eat to be sexy.
Then there was this young biker who watched me and my arnis stick each time we crossed our paths. He seemed a bit bothered by my stick. Later, he smiled at me when some dust rose from the ground and we both had to cover our noses.
There was also a woman who walked casually while holding an uprooted plant in her left hand. This one really looked like a walker, especially with the roots of the plant still dripping soil from her hand. She later rode a motorcycle when her rounds were finished and drove fast past me.
Then there was this tall, a bit overweight bespectacled man with the balding head and who looked like a geek. He smiled at me as he approached and we both greeted each other. After him was an old man who just walked a little to and from and smiled at me. He, too, looked like a real walker.
Finally, there was this tall American with his big fat dog. He also carried a stick, probably to ward off stray dogs which loitered in the streets. Sometimes his wife went along, but she was not around this morning.
And there were the two street sweepers and the gardener at the plaza.
Me? I wore a blue green camouflage shirt with, white lines on the short sleeves, and gray jogging pants. With my short flat-top hair, arnis stick and belt bag, I probably looked like a military survivor in a zombie movie. Or, did I merely look like a zombie soldier?