Oft on a weekend morn, I go power walking. It’s my new thing. Note, I power walk, not speed walk. The two are very different. The Power Walk requires a steely gaze, an assertive stride and a steady, but challenging pace. It’s manly in its aim.
The Speed Walk on the other hand, requires arms flailing like chicken wings, a bottom bouncing from side-to-side in a bid to escape, and a variety of luminous and ill-fitting lycra. And ear-phones. And a pony tail. I have tried both. I prefer Power to Lycra. Except in the bedroom….
So it is I (Leclerc) that can be seen with chunky walking boots and cagoule, striding purposefully around the streets where I live, in the early morning rain. I would not look out of place on hill or dale; or a mental institute. I say the latter because I have a terrible tendency to argue with myself.
Just the other morning I was overtaken by a speed walker. Twice (not the same one) And on both occasions I was mid-argument, with several other people, who weren’t actually there. B*llocks.
Is there ANYTHING more disconcerting then being shocked out of your own private crazy by a stranger suddenly appearing at your side. It’s as if Scotty were in the Transporter Room with a bottle of scotch and a grudge.
The sudden self-awareness was like an electric shock to my delicate system. 140 Volts through my walnuts would have be more preferable.
I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing – being caught openly arguing with myself, or the sudden and deafening silence that reigns, as one realises that one has been caught openly arguing with oneself? Either way, I’d prefer to go under a bus.
It’s all about the Clam Up.
The Clam Up is recognition supreme. It’s the honesty of the situation that jars. The purest of epic fails. Both passer by and I silently, but politely, acknowledging in that sudden switch from rant to silence, that I have been caught red-handed in the act of being a weirdo. There is nowhere to hide your crazy now boy!
In that exquisite silence, I am undone. Without mask. Naked in my human frailty – and it hurts yo.
It used to happen to me a lot when I cycled to work. I’d be having a proper argument with my wife, as I free-wheeled down the road. And then some git on a racer would overtake me mid-rant. I must have looked BONKERS, passionately defending my right to not have any more children to a set of handlebars. The sudden humiliation was overpowering.
Slow down to 10 mph, let him disappear over the Birmingham horizon and then, pretend it never happened. Must. Protect. Delicate. Sense. Of. Self.
There is only one thing more humiliating than being caught arguing with yourself by a stranger, and that is being caught arguing with yourself by someone you know. Oh – that’s bad. Real bad. No coming back from that one buddy.
At least with a stranger, they can go about their business thinking that some random person they don’t know is a total nut job. One can find solace in the fact that their stories to their friends won’t penetrate your life any further. I could live with that (and I do). But with someone you know…..
I remember hearing my name being called but assuming it was my wife, who I had left behind, as I marched out of the shop like a nincompoop. As I turned to further explain WHY I was furious, I found myself telling a colleague from work, that:
YES I had feelings and that making me shout from the changing rooms to get your attention hurt them.
My colleague understandably looked alarmed. My wife, who was stood about three meters behind me, was about to pass out from laughing. The turn-on-a-sixpence I had to do, to try and convince my work colleague that I was not a psychopath was deft. She left shortly afterwards (without introducing me to her boyfriend).
We laughed about it at work on Monday. I say we.
Advice to wives and girlfriends
FYI ladies – there is NOTHING more annoying than when a man goes into the changing rooms to try on clothes; clothes that he’s not convinced about, but you insist upon, and then comes back out to find that you’ve buggered off.
Having to stand there like a shop dummy trying to peer over the tops of the clothes rails and in between all the other shoppers to spot you is PROPERLY ANNOYING.
Having to shout your name, so that everyone turns around and stares at him, but not you, is PROPERLY HUMILIATING.
Having somebody else’s wife tell him that the trousers that YOU MADE HIM TRY ON, are too tight and make his legs look skinny, WILL MAKE HIM WANT TO MURDER YOU YOU DEAD.
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