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February 2, 2006 / TildeWill

Big Steps

When I was young and much shorter I remember walking beside my parents. Like any kid I often walked too close and caught an elbow or two to the head here and there, but what I remember most was falling behind. My stride was just too short to keep up with people nearly twice as tall. It frightened me to fall behind and out of the reach of parental protection, and it frustrated me that I couldn’t keep up. Something had to change.

Initially I had hoped that my parents would walk slower, but if you’ve ever tried walking slower you know how unnatural that can feel. I then tried walking faster, but found I was either tiring myself out or walking ahead of my parents which was even worse than falling behind because I could no longer see them. So I compromised and lengthened my stride to match theirs. I’m sure I must have looked odd, being less than four feet tall and taking an adult sized step, but it worked.

The trouble is that I kept a large stride as I grew. Soon I found that I was the one getting ahead and leaving the people behind. I think in recent years, especially with the addition of girlfriends to my life, I’ve managed to moderate my stride a bit and walk at a more universal pace. Who doesn’t mind walking slow when you’ve got a waist to put your arm around?

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