We’re walking, walking, walking. Alone, being chased by our demons, with another friend in varying degrees of corona crisis, swerving all the other arseholes out on the open path. Here is every flavour of walk we have done/are doing/will be doing…
Maybe you bought shoes specifically to stomp in. Maybe you are channelling ‘these boots are made for walking’ except you are listening to hardcore hiphop or rave or metal and you are stomping, stomping to bring on endorphins without actually running. You are trying to stomp away the feeling of existential dread that greets you on the hour, every hour like a sadistic Big Ben of emotions. Dong.
The storm is different from the stomp in that you are trying to work off an emotional disorder, rather than explode your system so that you are only a ball of angry energy like a meteor. The storm is pure focus. You are storming away from the loss of your old life, the frustrations with your current sense of emotional confinement with the weird, niggling thoughts that prick you as if your psyche has started needlepoint too. ‘I am here for a reason,’ your walk says. When you are doing the storm you don’t need Covid for people to stay away from you.
The Failed Walk
It’s raining, it’s cold, you don’t even feel like crawling, let alone staying upright, standing suddenly seems impossible, it’s just too much energy, not today Satan, you wonder, ‘Why did I even start this?’ and you barely get 100m and you head home. Once home you are gripped with the most bum-clenching flood of regret and self-loathing. Tomorrow then. Let’s just eat our feelings instead.
The Therapy Walk
You can always tell when two women are having a therapy walk. They are walking at a medium-to-slow pace. They are staring at the floor. Everyone knows you can share more information when you aren’t look at the eye whites of each other’s eyes. One is talking and the other is listening. They are really mulling over a problem, you can feel the mull emanating from their walking bubble. If you go up and say hello you are an arsehole. Just storm past, waving and pointing at your headphones as if you are on a call – everyone will be relieved.
The Phone Walk
You have to call everyone you have ever known, so you have set aside an hour to have meaningful chats with the long list of those you haven’t called back within 3-5 working days. That’s the funny thing about lockdown isn’t it? You are either super quiet or super busy, and sometimes a phone call feels simply impossible because you are so depleted. Anyway the phone hour is intensely allocated and when you call the first person on your list and they don’t answer your soul disintegrates.
The Worry Walk
You join a Zoom meeting while on a dog walk. You think you are winning at life and being super keen, when essentially it’s just unprofessional, rude and you keep tripping over things and you can’t hear 90% of the conversation. Why did you bother? Everybody hates you now. It’s a bit like your Italian boss who was so controlling and self-important he used to host conference calls in the bath.
The Chillax Walk
When you are pretending that you are having a social experience. You have nothing to say. Nothing is happening. You have nothing. You try to dredge up some gossip. From anywhere. You end up just judging people for their Lockdown 3 infractions and feeling horrible about yourself.
The Standing Walk
Those walks when you bump into so many people that you are just standing on the path. You are trying to signal to other walkers that you aren’t meeting up with millions of people but you just keep running into them accidentally. You are frantic. So distracted. Everybody is getting too close, the clock is ticking, this is eating into your walk time, does a panic attack count as cardio?
The Swerve Walk
You are swerving runners and cyclists at such a rate that you are doing that funny athletic walk from the Olympics. You are lit from within with the righteous swerving, just get out my fucking way, away with your virus droplets you think to all the runners, wheezing dangerously passed. You are tempted to fake a cough as they bounce off you – they don’t seem to be able to avoid you but they might manage to circumvent a coughing you.
The Addict Walk
You are 10,000 steps away from Walkers Anonymous. You are obsessed with how far you can go, how many times you can go round the teeny, tiny park. Everyone is a bit worried about, you have bought special walking shoes, frictionless trousers, you are walking at night in the murdery park with headphones on, you are insane.
The Self-Improving Walk
Most of the time you are just trying to tap into happy (whatever that means) on your walks. So it’s a little Madonna, Prince, Barbra, uplifting but not too uplifting, stirring but not too stirring. Sometimes, though, you make the fatal mistake of thinking, ‘This is my time, I am going to use it to broaden my horizons’ and on goes the worthy podcast or audio book. These are very miserable walks.
The Needing To Pee Walk
Anyone else have an almost Pavlovian response to the park, where as soon as you go through the gates you need to pee? You become increasingly desperate to pee as well as increasingly desperate to complete the walk. It ruins the whole experience and you slightly wet yourself.
The Emotional Walk
You cry your way around your walk. Like a French actress in a black-and-white movie walking away her pain, carrying her agony along the Champs Elysée. It feels so good. She looked so good in the film. You’ve never looked worse.