Conundrum

July 29, 2006 by barbara

Something's been bugging me, and I thought I'd throw it out there.

Several days ago, I decided to start walking again. For exercise. No destination. Just a round trip, out and back, from home. Bad week to start. Record high temps. Record-high lows. Humid. You're not supposed to see your breath in Minnesota in July. Unless you've just eaten something truly disgusting.

I'm out of shape, but I'm not stupid. I figured that if I'm going to do this walking thing, it needs to be in the very early morning hours until this hot spell breaks.

So I'm walking. Taking it kind of easy. Re-entering the world of physical activity and feeling good.

Rush hour is looming. Cars begin to back out of garages, emerge from side streets, rumble up the main drag, heading for wherever it is people go at that hour of the day. And here's the thing. Almost without exception, they're talking on their cell phones. It's a quarter to seven in the morning. Who the heck are all those people talking to? Help me out here.

If they've got families (and most people around here do), they just left them 30 seconds ago. Do you suppose my community breeds separation anxiety? Or maybe they all have secret lovers and they're planning their nooners. Do their brokers get to the office before dawn to take their calls? Or is it something sinister? Yesterday, it occurred to me that they might all be talking to each other. Some kind of convoluted conference call from hell. Who's in charge and what's their game?

This morning, I paid close attention, trying to see patterns. I am especially concerned about the women in SUVs, gesturing wildly as they drive and talk on their cells. I'm thinking they are signaling to somebody hiding in the bushes. Michele Bachmann? If not, then who? The Mini Cooper people are very animated, too, but it seems untargeted. Acura people just drive and talk and rarely smile. The tinted window crowd might be masterminding the whole thing.

I really cannot, in all conscience, turn my attention back to global issues when there might be trouble right here in Dakota County. Maybe other places, too. I'm not sure what this is all about, this morning cell phone thing. But tomorrow, I'm going to take notes while I walk, and this time I'm going to observe vehicles by color and keep tabs on drivers with those little round W stickers on their bumpers. Only the ones that no one has tried to scrape away. There aren't many of those any more. Maybe by the process of elimination, I can figure this thing out.

Exercise is very stressful.

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