(The names of my friends involved have been changed to protect their privacy.)
Esmerelda, Frau Frieda, Inga, and Shirley walk into a bar….no, wait, that doesn’t happen, at least not tonight. We walk to the bridge to run stairs. Yes, on purpose.
When they proposed this to me in the past, I thought they meant we would run up the stairs of the Cambie St. bridge and then across the bridge, down the stairs at that end, back up and across the bridge and repeat a few times. But, no, actually running stairs means running up the stairs, stop for a short gasping breath of air at the top and walk/trot down, turn around at bottom and run up the stairs, hack up parts of a lung at top, and walk/stumble down, turn around at bottom and …. you get the picture.
“How many are we doing again?” I foolishly ask. “12, it’s June now, so we need to do 12,” says Inga who is sprinting up the stairs ahead of me. “What? Why? Who made that up? This is only my third time, shouldn’t I only be doing three?” I whine.
“You do 12. Be strong woman, but don’t smell like strong man,” Frau Frieda says as she passes me, placing a disconcertingly heavy hand on my shoulder and smelling a little Old Spicy, in my opinion.
The stairs seem okay at the start of each set, but when you get to the very last group your thighs seize and you have to convince them that there are in fact NO bear traps affixed to them. “Seriously, guys, you’re good, just run up these last batch of steep stairs for no apparent reason.”
Stopped ahead of me on the stairs I see Esmerelda talking to a man who is carrying a dog. Yes, it’s odd, we’ve seen a few people out “walking” their dogs this way. Esmerelda has had multiple knee surgeries in her life and wears two big, black braces in order to run. We joke that she often gets a lot of sympathy looks when we’re out running, or sometimes people just avert their eyes and walk at a safe distance. Maybe it’s because it looks like she should be in an episode of Dr. Who, or, more likely, Austen Powers. She’d be the villain called Legs E.
As we trot down the stairs she says, “See, you could meet single guys out here. People are always stopping me to ask about my braces and how the dial on the side works.”
“Um, so you think I should wear a fake leg brace and see if men will talk to me?” I say.
“What? I have extra brace for the leg,” says Frau Frieda from the stairs below us. “I bring for you next week, then maybe you run faster and talk less.”
We do some strength and stretching exercise after the stairs and Inga and Shirley talked about their last soccer game and heart rate recordings on their Fitbits. Most players hide their Fitbits under a sweatband when they play so the ref won’t make them take it off.
Shirley says she had to take it off once because of the ref, but she stuck it in-between her compression shorts (like bike shorts) and her soccer shorts – at the back, that is, near her butt. She animatedly demonstrated how she did this, well, as animated as a Brit can get.
“It totally still worked. Even recorded my heart rate!”
“What?!” I say, “You mean it actually recorded your heart rate from your ass crack?” Technology is truly amazing.
The art of cat love
On the walk back, we talk about the pug we just saw in a baby carriage, which led to a conversation about kids at Esmerelda’s school saving an injured squirrel and then to Esmerelda asking if any of us wants a kitten. She tells us that her friend has a bunch of kittens because people abandon them on her farm.
Frau Frieda notes that cats ignore the scratching posts, even if they’re laced with catnip and instead they scratch up the coffee table, the couch and even the drywall.
Esmerelda agrees and adds, “Terminator 3 can die any time now because I want new furniture.” (The cat’s name has been changed to protect privacy and keep Cativists off my case.)
“Ugh, why do people want animals that do that in their house?” I say.
Immediately Esmerelda responds, “Because of cat love. They provide love in your life.”
“Wait, you literally just said a minute ago ‘Terminator 3 can die any time now because I want new furniture.’ So does that mean you love your cat until it’s time to redecorate and then you pray for an early demise? “
Frau Frieda muses, “There are no need for prayers. Other methods work faster.”
(No cats came to their untimely death during the night, but several human stair-runners were precariously close to losing a limb to cramping.)