Yesterday, I had my first moment of hip-replacement triumph and today my streak continues. I better walk my ass down to the lotto store and get a Scratch-N-Win, because the luck train has rolled into the station and it's calling, "All aboard, Arley! All a-freaking-board!" That's right. Because today, I finally walked faster than someone on the street. Better yet, that person was not hooked up to oxygen tank, was not a toddler and was not carrying a small dog in the basket of their walker. Ambulation win!
Before the surgery (I use this phrase so often I feel like I should abbreviate it - BTS), I was an aggressive pedestrian. I walked with an arm crutch and I was not afraid to swing that baby in crowded sidewalks if it meant wading through a stream of undergraduates with greater ease. There's nothing worse than trying to walk somewhere in a college town in springtime because all the undergraduates are in heat and they are sauntering dreamily down the sidewalk hand in hand, taking up as much real estate as humanly possible, causing traffic jams when they become so overwhelmingly attracted to one another that they are forced to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to kiss. ("Like, oh my God! The smell of stale beer and vomit outside this campus bar just turns me on! Let us exchange bodily fluids immediately!") I have become so used to fighting my way like a spawning salmon along Champaign-Urbana sidewalks that I have cultivated a healthy dose of pedestrian rage. (Or, you know, I might just be an angry person).
Since the surgery, however, I have been the human equivalent of a horsedrawn carriage on a four-lane highway. Businessmen have breathed down my neck in crowded streets and contemplated pushing me into traffic to shave 15 seconds off their commute. Old men have jogged by me wearing outlandish sweatbands and socks pulled up to their knees, shooting me smug glances and making me feel like I was trapped in a Viagra commercial. It was all very embarrassing.
But not anymore. It's time to sharpen up the old elbows, because today, I finally passed an able-bodied women of approximately my own age. Now, I will admit that this woman was listening to an Ipod and I have no doubt that she was probably all wrapped up in some slow song somewhere along the lines of "Let's Get It On" and she was thinking about when she would, in fact, get it on. Perhaps she was thinking impure thoughts about Zac Efron. Who knows? All I know is that she had slowed down to low gear just as I was kicking the Arley Express (read: my cane and I) into overdrive. I passed her, nearly stepping in dog droppings while doing so, and emerged gleefully in front of her.
She didn't appear to notice. I, however, felt like the Queen of Mobility for roughly 2.5 seconds, until I realized that the girl had picked up her pace and I would have to keep up with her if I wanted to maintain my lead. I sped up, she sped up. I sped up (my cane tapping like a freaking metronome playing "Flight of the Bumblebees"), she sped up. I knew how this would end: either she'd beat me or I'd trip over a root, land on my hip and spend the next three months recovering from emergency surgery.
There was no choice but to abort the mission. To save face, I pretended that there was something of great interest in my purse and stepped off to the side. She strode by without a backwards glance, no doubt now grooving to a more up-beat song. Still, I can see the end of the tunnel ahead. It won't be long now before I'm once again speeding past dawdlers, giving them a look that says, "I'm honking at you with my eyes." The Arley Express is back on the tracks and she's a freaking bullet train!