The other day I discovered the dreaded "love handles" forming a discrete bulge above my belt line. That term is a polite euphemism for the middle age spread that happens to the best of us and results in shopping sprees for pants with larger waist sizes. And in my case a direct result of too little exercise, and frequenting, too often, the many restaurants that dot the Berkshires. Rather than become the caricature of the overweight physician advising his patient to lose weight, I decided to do something about it.
After perusing several strategies, including placing a stationary bicycle in my office, (too noisy and sweaty) or jogging in the neighborhood (a local mutt likes to chase runners if they are too close) I decided that I would go for a walk during my lunch break. That is if you can actually just go for a walk on East Street.
Here was the plan; have a quick lunch and start my ambulation on above mentioned street at 12.30 p.m. from my office next to the Family Dollar. Turn right and walk briskly towards the center of town for 15 minutes, turn a around and walk back so as to be back in time for my 1 p.m. afternoon session.
That was the plan! But men make plans and God laughs!
Pittsfield, I am sure, has the USA’s largest population of motorized scooters and though they are a godsend for individuals who would otherwise be homebound, I can’t but wonder if a driver’s ed. class could be mandated before they were given access to the streets. And they should definitely have a speed limit as my little adventure below will validate.
It was a Friday afternoon. The morning rain had left puddles on the sidewalk. Turning right from my office parking lot I started my walk towards the center of town. I was a little distracted dodging the collections of rainwater on the pavement when I caught a blur of movement out of the corner of my eye. Suddenly, someone tugged firmly on my sleeve, and I was pulled sideways onto the asphalt, almost losing my balance. If ever there was an occasion for expletives this was it!
"What the %$@#$" I exclaimed, as I turned towards my rescuer.
"Gotta’ watch out for them scooters" a young man in his mid-20s answered me back as he let go of my arm.
Looking down the pavement I could see the back of a scooter, its electric motor humming loudly as it went whizzing down the sidewalk. From the pony tail whipping about in the slipstream, I could tell that the operator was a young woman. She must have been traveling at least twice the speed of a brisk walk. Ahead, surprised pedestrians scattered. She was like a motorized Moses parting the Red Sea.
After a moment of confusion, I collected myself and profusely thanked my savior for his prompt action. He just smiled and walked away with a parting piece of advice. Maybe his grammar wasn’t great, but his heart was in the right place.
"Better watch for those crazy go-karts, buddy. No fun being hit by one of them babies!"
Yes indeed. It would have been no fun at all. And also a very embarrassing experience. And almost as embarrassing as being run over by a racing bullock cart. But that’s another story for another day.
So please, all you owners of those zippy, road-running recliners, slow down a little for your pedestrian friends. We can all share the sidewalk in peaceful coexistence.
A native of Bombay, Dr. Mehernosh Khan, a board-certified practicing physician with a special interest in complementary medicine, came to the Berkshires last November with his wife, Karen, and their cats.