Walking in Airports

When the final itinerary for the book tour showed up, I went through it on a line by line basis. I immediately saw that my 660-day streak of 10,000 steps was in imminent danger. I figured I could make the Arizona part of the tour work as far as steps were concerned, but once I hit the one-night stand part of the tour, there wasn’t going to be any walking time available between my arrival times at hotels and pickup times for events.

So I took action. I called the publicist and asked him to move all my airport pickup times half an hour earlier than they had been originally scheduled. That generally gave me an hour or so before boarding to get in some steps. And that’s what I did—walking with a fully loaded purse on one shoulder and a leather computer bag on the other.

Did you know that concourses are generally good for a thousand steps? In Phoenix, where you can walk in one corridor among all three terminals, that’s good for a lot more than a thousand. So that’s where I did the walking on the tour—in airports. The only time I almost came to grief was in Phoenix when someone hit me with his bag in the back of my knee. That one almost knocked me down.

When I’m walking, I always feel like I’m six-feet tall and bullet proof, but I obviously don’t look nearly as spry as I think, because any number of times concerned people asked if I required a wheel chair. I told them no, I was fine. In terms of the tortoise and the hare, I was definitely the tortoise, but I would get there eventually.

It turns out walking in Arizona wasn’t nearly as easy as I expected. It was HOT. Not that hot for the people who live there and endured this scorching summer, but for a weather wimp from Washington, I found myself scurrying from one patch of shade to another, even in what should have been the early morning.

In Tucson, with an extra hour between Green Valley and the San Xavier event, I opted for walking in a Walgreens. The place was cool at high noon, and cool was what I needed. Traveling up and down every aisle was good for 500 steps.

It was by far the neatest and least junky Walgreens I’ve seen in years. Every package of potato chips or Cheetos was in its proper place. I did notice that their inventory of Pampers was on the light side. Their inventory of Depends type products was just the opposite.

I also noticed one section marked “Sexual Health.” I don’t remember seeing one of those before. A woman several decades younger than I am spent the better part of half an hour parked in that section, reading the fine print on the back of every bottle and package. I couldn’t help but wonder what her story was, but obviously I didn’t ask.

Happily, I came home with my walking streak still intact. It’s currently at 680 days. On Sunday night of this week, I crossed the 23,000,000 mark. I wanted to take a screenshot to prove it, but for some reason, the phone stalled out as far as counting was concerned at 22,999,996. It took several trips around the kitchen island to get it counting again, and then, rather than hitting the right number is added in a few.

So here’s the screenshot. My agency manager from back in my life insurance days, Gilbert F. Lawson, used to say, “Know the score, keep the score, report the score. The score will improve.” So that’s what I’m doing right now—reporting the score.