Walking in Oakland, Issue #1
Hey there, walkers. This is the first of thirty-one messages you'll be getting this month about Walking in Oakland.
This is Edgar. He’s a dog. He’s my primary walking companion.
This little guy moves. He weighs eleven pounds and at least half of it is bounding, scampering, powerhouse dog haunch.
I do not understand how this happened. He is an athlete. A thoughtful, careful little athlete, but an athlete. He invents games, learns and teaches them with other dogs. Bounce-back-and-forth, chase-you-chase-me, hump-wrestle-leading-into-clash-of-the-titans, reared up, paws flailing.
I am not an athlete.
Edgar’s previous owner, my partner’s sister’s dog-breeding mother in law, says, “People get the dogs they need,” and I guess what we needed was a dog that moves.
I had a strange moment a few years ago, in an escape room at the Palace of Fine Arts. The first part of the room was a series of visual and word puzzles, and I spent most of it having a tiny personal crisis, because I was useless. Some of the puzzles I might have worked out eventually, but someone else on my team was always faster. Some of them I was entirely stumped by. I redeemed myself, slightly, by knowing a few things about chemical elements, but here I was, a former English major on a team full of software developers, and I was failing on word puzzles.
And then we got to the part of the room that was, quote, a “Zelda jump puzzle.” Feats of strength. It involved passing a light-filled chalice back and forth while keeping it steady, hopping from light pool to light pool.
And I rocked. I was good at jumping. I was great at keeping that chalice upright, even challenging conditions. I had an iron core. I impressed people with feats of strength.
I was not an athletic child. (I'm still not, but I can lift weights now.) I had this buried so deep in my identity — not an athlete — that it really did shake me to be so good at something physical.
Relatively speaking, anyway. I mean, this was a team of software nerds.
What old stories about yourself are you carrying around, that are no longer true? Reply with a sentence that you wouldn't mind me sharing anonymously, and I'll include it in a future issue of Walking, and maybe whatever print version this ends up getting.
See you tomorrow--