Monday, February 28, 2011


I've walked every day for the last seventy days, regardless of weather or what city I'm in. Today, I'm in the Portland area where it's raining. I've brought my rain/cold weather walking clothes, the sum of which is more than the rest of the clothes I packed for a single overnight. It includes spandex pants (to wear under jeans), a light-weight sweat-wicking high-tech undershirt, a ditto (see preceding description) jacket, a hooded rain coat, waterproof pants (for over my jeans), gloves, and my Jack Daniels Field Tester baseball cap. This is serious business.

Alas, however, I forgot my shoes. I did not travel barefoot but wore only my shoes for ordinary walking. I left behind the shoes for purposeful walking, or walking for a purpose. Not on purpose, mind you, I just forgot them.

And so, I did not walk to the local mall in the rain to get my after-walk treat of a scoop of ice cream. Too bad, too, as I had already decided I would have Jamoca, an exotic departure from my usual order. Sigh. Instead, I was forced (for the sake of my suede non-walking shoes and the feet inside them) to use the elliptical trainer in the hotel's workout room. Pedestrian, non-walking.

It was much harder than simple walking. And since it wasn't walking, my non-walking shoes and their occupants fared just fine. And now, back in my room, I'm considering standing out on the balcony in my rain gear just to justify having brought it. Maybe I can order ice cream from room service since, after all, I probably expended more calories not walking than if I had.

Non-walking counts as walking today, since I'm making up the rules, making today Day 71.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Watch Me

The best people-watching in the world has to be at any American Mall. Frankly, it reinforces the notion that anyone can find true love. Maybe not at the mall but look around and what do you see? Sometimes, that which is most unattractive about us - overweight, sloppy, and spending money we don't have. And yet, these same people are walking hand in hand with someone. If you felt lonely on Valentines Day, know that you are not alone and take a trip to the mall. There, you will find hope for love although I doubt love, itself.

I walked at the mall this morning to avoid the snow. I'm outside Portland and had packed rain gear but no boots. As I looked outside my hotel window at the giant white flakes, Accuweather was reporting rain. Maybe they should drop the first two syllables from their name as I perceive that as false advertising. I think everyone is already comfortable with the idea that Weather is never more than a guess anyway and it's far more accurate to just look out the window.

The Vancouver Mall has everything. It has the usual anchor stores: Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears, JC Penny. It also has a tattoo parlor, a boxing club, and a place where you can get a contractors license. It has a number of coffee shops (where I am enjoying my post-walk latte) and an ice cream shop (where I had a scoop of chocolate chip mint after yesterday's walk). Here you can find skinny jeans for plus-sized women (I'm not really sure how that would work) and information on an upcoming Ultra Short Film Festival. (Perhaps the festival in its entirety lasts five minutes.) It's interesting to note that a scoop of ice cream is two dollars less than a cup of coffee anymore. I'm thinking my daily cup could be replaced by a daily scoop.

I see mall workers preparing to open their shops. One worker was camped in the doorway of a shop waiting to be let in like a high-end homeless person. Of course, there are people here who appear to be truly homeless, taking aadvantage of a warm, inviting place. There are people here who are physically and mentally handicapped in addition to the economically challenged. One young man, dressed entirely in black, sat alone on a bench holding a single long-stemmed rose, two days after Valentines Day. Maybe he was waiting for his one true love. Here, at an American Mall.