The DuellistsEli 9.10 and I have been walking to breakfast on Saturdays to help with my knee rehab. It's about four miles round-trip, and he's been very good about being willing to go.
Well, he said "Dad, YOU SUCK" on Saturday morning before we left, but he was laughing as he said it.
On the way to the restaurant, we blew past a couple that was out for a morning stroll. Eli loves to do that, and he always gets a big grin on his face after we pass somebody.
On the way back, we decided to go home via an alternate route. We were walking on one side of a long avenue when we saw, on the other side of the street, a woman.
She was the walker.
She had the high arms pumping, the walker's outfit (tank top and high shorts), and walking shoes. Precision.
We looked like two people who just rolled out of bed and got dressed in the dark, which we pretty much did.
We saw this woman because she was passing us. Crushing us, actually, and instead of a friendly acknowledgement, she stared straight ahead and wouldn't even look at us as she blew by. "Oh, she DID NOT just do that," I said.
"Speed up, Dad!" Eli said, laughing.
We sped up. One one side of the street, she was grinding away with those high arms and perfect stride. On the other side, we were shambling along in total disarray.
We were, however, catching up.
The thing about walkers is that they're surprisingly competitive. If they're pumping those arms, they hate to get passed.
It became a duel.
This went on for several minutes, and we continued to slowly gain on her. We were within ten yards when, without looking at us, she broke into a jog.
"There she goes!" Eli said, and so she did, leaving us well behind.
"Now THAT'S a competitor," I said.
"That was awesome!" he said, laughing.
"This is how much she wanted to stay ahead of us," I said. "If we had stayed up with her when she was running, she would have stolen a bicycle."
Eli burst out laughing. "Then, if we'd stayed up with her on the bicycle, she would have stolen a scooter."
"And if we stayed up with the scooter, a motorcycle."
"Then, a car!" Eli said.
"No, we're still with her," I said. He's laughing so hard now that he's slowed down. "Then, she steals a Formula One car." Now he's walking sideways, laughing.
We reached a 'T' in the road (about a mile from home), and had to go right or left. We went right, toward our house.
Eli saw her first.
"She's still there!" he said. Indeed she was, only about forty yards ahead of us, and now, we were on the same side of the street. She must have stopped running as soon as she turned out of our sight, and her walk was definitely slower than it had been.
"We can catch her," I said, a gleam in my eye.
"Stop talking and start walking!" he said. We sped up, then I broke into a jog. Eli burst out laughing, but he was running, too, and we started a pattern of running past three houses, then walking for one. We were gaining, and fast.
She started running again.
"Oh, IT'S ON!" Eli said, laughing even harder.
We kept up our running/walking pattern. She stopped after about a hundred yards or so, though, and we started gaining on her again.
"Dad, we're going to do it!" Eli said. We were only about forty yards behind her, and we were reeling her in.
Thirty-five yards. Thirty.
We were about twenty-five yards behind her when she took a quick look back, then did an exaggerated double-take.
She started running across the street.
Eli lost it. He was laughing so hard that he veered off the sidewalk and collapsed into the nearest yard. I almost joined him, but settled for laughing my ass off standing up.
After about twenty seconds, Eli found the strength to stand up again. I regretted not taking her picture.
"I can't believe I didn't want to go for a walk today," he said.
"Best ever," I said.