Being a slow walker isn’t a problem when I’m alone.
However, when I’m with a group of people, it’s a huge problem. My friends don’t slow down to walk with me, and walking faster makes my legs hurt and then I start to sweat.
I’d like to say I walk slow because I have short legs, but my twin sister, Joy, whose legs are the same length as mine, walks fast.
Actually, she is usually the one huffing and puffing because I’m ten paces back and everyone has to stop walking until I catch up.
When I studied abroad in Spain, the American students would travel in groups, and my slow walking became a talking point. I used to make up excuses.
“I mean, sorry that I’m looking at the architecture!” I would say. “I didn’t realize I’d be forced to sprint through town!”
Those excuses lasted about a week until everyone realized that I was just a painfully slow walker.
“Just go ahead!” I finally shouted at the group. “I’m fine!”
“I bet I could crab walk faster than you!” one of the boys said.
“Oh, very funny. Haha.”
He wasn’t kidding. He actually got onto his hands and feet and crab walked on the cobblestone street faster than I walked normally.
“Congratulations.” I said.
My slow walking wasn’t tolerated when I lived in New York for a summer. I was routinely plowed over by much bigger, faster people and I adapted by walking very close to the buildings almost touching them, so I'd be out of the sidewalk thoroughfare.
My slow walking also regularly resulted in me being late and missing subways and trains.
There was one incident where my slow walking almost got me into actual trouble.
A would-be mugger zeroed in on me when he saw me strolling alone, BY MYSELF about ten paces behind my friends (thanks, y’all) and he lurched at me and tried to grab my purse.
It was as if walking slowly made me the injured zebra that the lion tries to eat. The man had asked my group of friends for money but did not lurch at them. He lurched at me.
Thankfully, I run much faster than I walk and once my friends heard me yelp they got involved and the lion became uninterested in fighting ALL the zebras.
I didn’t talk to Joy for a full half-hour after that.
Yesterday, my roommate, Katy, developed a fun game that involved halting completely and counting to five slowly, because that’s how long it took for me to catch up.
She had to do that twice before we got to our destination. Joy didn’t like that game at all.
Thankfully, there are nice people who slow down to walk with me. My mom, for one, has slowed down and even pointed out that there’s no problem with "strolling."
My cute boyfriend also slows his pace down so he can walk with his arm around me.
He’s never even said anything about how slow I walk even though I’m sure it drives him crazy because he’s tall and probably hates taking baby steps down the street.
But he puts up with it so he can walk right next to me, and I’m very grateful.
It’s also helpful in keeping the lions away.