Friday, March 02, 2007

A History of Walking

I took up an old hobby from way back my boring days in Bacolod - I decided to start walking again... morning walks actually. The last time I was into it was when I was pretty much bored with my life as a college instructor and decided to preoccupy myself with some physical activities. My first option was the gym. I enrolled myself in a gym near the university. After the first session of aerobics class, I ditched the idea. Thirty minutes into the work-out, my head was spinning round and round and I was already having cold-sweats. Bad idea.

My second option was to go into swimming. Nature's Village, though close to home, was out because I couldn't do decent laps there without having to dread the 6 feet or so water level right in the middle of the pool. Yes, I know how to swim but after my swimming days in college, I developed this fear of drowning. Marapara was out for the same reason. And so the closest to home was Sta. Fe Resort for its bigger pool and 5 feet water level. I could opt to do laps lengthwise or crosswise without having to fear drowning there. But Sta. Fe was three rides from my house, 45 minutes tops. Bringing the car would just entail additional cost as they charge additonal entrance fee for vehicles. But I did go swimming there, anyhow... and yes, only once. Because it took me almost 45 minutes to go to the resort and I didn't even spend 30 minutes in the pool because I was already panting after 5 laps. Another bad idea.

The third option was jogging, aka brisk walking by my standards. In my first attempt, I took the highway route from Marapara Golf Club to Pepsi and back. I woke up as early as 5:30am and walked the whole two kilometers all by myself. Occasionally, I would bump into other joggers who trod the same path. I enjoyed it, actually, except for the free polluted air that came with the big trucks that pass me by. Some days, however, I didn't care to jog, other times, I walked an extra mile. Then one day I just stopped. Bad bad bad.

Then there was the early morning work-out show aired in the Lifestyle Network which provided easy to follow exercises even for heavy people like me. I looked forward to the work-outs for sometime. But then the show got cancelled, whatsoever and I was back to not having any physical activity again.

Fifth option for me was the Kickboxing work-out video which I bought for P150.00. Worked for sometime too until the tape got busted or so I recall. Sad sad sad.

Then one day, my mom told me she wants to do morning walks too. The request came while I was already enjoying my on-active lifestyle. I indulged her request and we walked the whole two kilometer route from Marapara Golf Club to Pepsi. It became a bonding moment for us. Sometimes my aunt who lives nearby would join us and we would catch up with each other's lives along the way.

During those times we passed by other joggers who told us about a group of morning walkers doing their morning walk at nearby cemetery. What seem to be a morbid thing provided a good venue for people to stay alive and healthy. We tried it out one day and we found out that there were in fact lots of people doing their early morning walks at the oval road circling the cemetery lots. The new route led to new relationships and new stories to tell.

I especially became fond of Uncle George (+) whose tombstone was located at the first curve of the oval road of the cemetery. I found his tombstone interesting because it included not only the usual name, birthdate, deathdate and dedication but also included his signature right above his name. Weird, by my standards, but eye-catching nonetheless. His is not the only one with a signature but I singled him out because his tomb, being at the curve provided us with a reason to slow down and catch out breath. Uncle George was about the same age as my dad so we call him that. Everyday, when we pass by his tomb I would greet him good morning, I'd tell him at least a story or two about what showbiz, politics or whatever was hot at the moment. It was as if he was even part of our family. During days when it was difficult to wake up in the morning, my mom would even tease me that if I will not jog, Uncle George would miss me. And so for mornings after my missing a walk, I would drop by Uncle George's tomb and say sorry. (Hahahahahhaha, weird family!)

The weirdest part of the Uncle George episode happened one All Saints' Day when we decided to drop by the cemetery (our dead was in a different cemetery) just to check if Uncle George's folks came by to visit him. It was already dark when we dropped by. There was a bit of traffic because of the volume of cars on the one-lane road. We slowed down by the curve and checked on Uncle George's. There was a feast of flowers and candles over his tomb and a few people. We had to speed off a little before we could indulge in our giggles because some family members, I surmise, were already taking notice of our car. Hahahahhahahahaha! I hope we didn't taint Uncle George's memory of him after that incident. The morning following that All Saints' day we teased Uncle George about him having many people who love and care for him and about the silly thing that we did.

Another interesting story from my walking days was this story about a guy who we called Mr. Please Release Me. First because he seemed to be a guy from the decade when the song was popularize and second because we always saw him with this girl in tow while walking. Please Release Me wore a very gold necklace with a very gold watch to match his usual walking attire of shorts, shirt and rubber shoes. He and his girl-in-tow would take the reverse of our route so we get to take a good look at him and his accessory (the girl that is, hahahahhaha!) each time our paths meet. They always held hands while walking. If not, Please Release Me's hand would be found dangling over the girl's shoulder. The grapevine has it that Please Release Me is very much a family man but not to this girl-in-tow. So perhaps the mornings walks were commencement activities to torridly animated nights (hahahhahahahha!). My mom and I would giggle each time we pass by them - two amorous people making most of borrowed time.

There were times though when the couple didn't look so happy. Other times, only Please Release Me did the morning walks. Until finally there was no more Please Release Me and his girl-in-tow. Could it have been that the relationship turned sour or was it a simple case of falling out of love? None of my business really. Hehehehhehehe, just being my curious self. MOnths later I would learn that Please Release Me was a security guard of a booking office for an island resorts in the province. The thing about his being a family man was true, and yes, not with the girl-in-tow.

Another story that I very well remember was about one lady jogger, let's just call her Helen, who was blatantly confronted by the wife of another jogger, Julio, after rumors of Julio having a thing for Helen. The rumor spurred from some kantyawan made by the boys in the group about Helen's husband (a certified Negro, btw) being out of the country and Julio's preference in women. Some loose-tongued jogger might have kidded about it with some people who might have passed on the word to Julio's wife. My mom and I didn't witness the actual confrontation but we were told that Julio's wife angrily made sugod at Helen's house and ranted about Helen having an affair with Julio. Helen switched to war-mode and countered all the allegations made by Julio's wife. There was no amorous relationship to start with, they were not even in talking terms except when with the group. The only reason why Julio drops by her house after the morning walks was because Helen's house was along the road right outside the cemetery and the group stops by her house to buy puto! And Julio never went there by himself, he was always with his walking buddies! Julio was so ashamed of what his wife did. Kasi naman, babaero kaya lahat pinagdududahan ng asawa! The wife should have not been that impulsive. She would have handled it better if she just did the morning walks with him. But Julio's history with women might have placed her in a very fragile situation. Oh well, she's a woman and she's entitled to defending her turf even from the wrong persons or for the wrong reasons. Hahahhahahaha!

My walking days had been fun. It provided me with the opportunity to know a side of my mom that I never saw before - the funny side, the side that a friend would enjoy. I learned a lot about the other people and the stuff that made their lives interesting. I also lost weight and looked better during those days *giggles*. But eventually I stopped walking after I lost interest. I just didn't feel like doing it anymore. It was a while before my mom gave up on me and moved on with the morning walks without me. She would update me once in a while about the people I met during my walking stint. Then I would sigh. I've reduced myself into a spectator of sorts of this inner circle of friends that grew in their relationships through time.

Fast track 4 years and I am where I am right now, heavier (hahahahhaha, more of fat really), happier (no more boring days for me) and more accepting of who I am. But I miss the walking days, the early morning breeze, the extra time to clear my thoughts before I start my day, the company of my mom and the people that I walk with, morning sunshine, feeling light. I miss the inner peace that walking does to my sometimes hay wired brain.

Yesterday was the start. 10 rounds in the plaza with Michael Buble singing in the background. It felt good! Although Miki told me to be careful because there had been mobbing incidents in the past, I felt a sense of security after seeing many other people taking their morning walks with me. I had time to organize my thoughts for the day and to recollect on past events. It was fun. The kind of fun that lingers the whole day. Perhaps, the walk did me good because I was able to do everything that I've planned for the day.

But I didn't go for a walk today. My justification? I have to write this blog! hahahhahahaha! what more to add to my twisted life decisions.

And tomorrow? I'll worry about that tomorrow.

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