The fair Leila requires her daily exercise. So do I. So I've combined them into my new regime -- no less than an hour of non-stop walking around the streets of Rye and Harrison and occasionally Mamaroneck*, at a brisk and calorie-consuming pace of 4 mph, apart from those days when I'm dragging children behind me. With varying four-mile loops plotted on Google Earth.
Ah, but it doesn't stop there -- that's also a good hour for thinking and planning and plotting, with the blood gushing through my brain and my lungs filled with air. Or I can listen to informative BBC and NPR podcasts on the iTouch, which did dry out after its recent dunking in the john. Or I can make a personal phone call or two, as long as the person at the other end doesn't mind the heavy breathing or the pause (and sound effects) when I have to gather dog poop.
(Given the praise she gets when she delivers and the care with which I pick up after her and carry it away in those little blue New York Times bags, Leila must think I'm some kind of collector.)
Sometimes I get more exercise than planned. A couple of weeks ago, I was about two-thirds of the way around my loop when I noticed my glasses, which I'd hooked over the neckline of my shirt, were missing. I turned around and retraced my steps, scanning the ground. Amazingly, I found them in the middle of the sidewalk, just a hundred yards from home. It would have been quicker to complete the original circuit and then go round a second time. Instead I covered five and a half miles that day.
Yesterday, the same thing happened. This time I was going the opposite way round the same loop, but two-thirds into it, I looked down at my jeans pocket and realized my new pedometer must have fallen off. Again, reverse course, retrace steps, study the sidewalk fruitlessly, get home after a much longer walk than planned. But I found this missing item, too. I'd dropped it on the bedroom floor.
*I like Mamaroneck because it's easy to spell. Just one consonant per syllable. None of that confusing Massachusetts or Mississippi stuff.