72 Steps

Seventy-two human adult male steps. Approximately two thousand, five-hundred, ninety-two inches, or, seventy-two yards. This is the distance I measured from where I stood taking this picture to the end of the parking lot. Did I have something else to think about this morning? Yes. Well, no. Not really. Kinda. I did the measuring when I exited my car an hour-or-so earlier in the morning and thought it an interesting experiment.

You see, I was late. Traffic lights and stupid people driving caused my temper to be a bit off upon arriving, so I needed a distraction. I pondered, “What can I do so I don’t enter the school in a a foul mood?”…”I know, I’ll count the number of steps I take from the car to the door!”…”I’ve done this driving and parking thing for seven years now – the same last space in the lot to the same door and NEVER have I EVER done it!”… “Yes…BRILLIANT!!”

For the record, your honor, I DID enter the school relaxed. Success achieved. Now to be honest, I do know additional relaxation techniques I employed prior to arriving such as: 1. creative yelling at people who stopped at green lights, 2. quick, effective hand motions at drivers who didn’t move (and should have) at four-way stop signs, 3. vocal screams toward accelerator-deprived people who apparently didn’t know there WAS a mechanism at their disposal that WILL make their car go over 5 mph, and 4. head-butting my steering wheel in such a dramatic fashion so the driver next to me KNEW he cut me off two minutes prior. I arrived almost happy.

“Almost” being the key word. Aaaand, I recognized it. Kudos to me. Last thing anyone needs is an upset Doug – even slightly so.

Let the count begin. First step out of the car, I felt a small twinge in my left knee. Oh, THAT’S nice, right. I am at the end of, supposed, middle third of my life (if all goes as planned) and most would say a “twinge” is normal … so press on. Two, three, four…

Five. A slight breeze and I feel a drift influencing my gait enough that I brush up against the dirty bumper of a co-workers SUV. Now, I’m not one to complain, but seriously….Ya think a little bit of courtesy could be extended here? My cargo pants are not Balmain Ribbed Leather, I know, but I’d like them to stay nice. A little bumper-dirt maintenance now and then? (Obviously, I’m kidding…or am I?)

Six through thirty uneventful….feeling pretty good. And then around thirty-one.

Stones suck. They really do. Whoever invented stones should be stoned. Wait. How would that work?

“We hereby decree ye shall be stoned”
“But, Why?”
“For ye created stones”
“So, Thee shall weapon me to death by thy stones which I have created?”
“Rock on…”

Anyway, casting aside the really bad script above, step thirty-one presented a small, but annoying pebble in my shoe. How, pray tell, does this happen? Shoes, are by definition, the covering of a foot. Protection of a foot. A sturdy boundary between the elements of danger outside and the gentle flesh inside.

What happens between steps thirty-one and seventy-two is real simple. I had a boulder in my shoe the size of Mount Olympus. Pretty remarkable since my shoe size is 10 1/2 and the space between my ankle and the edge of my shoe is about 1/8″. You tell ME how this happens because I don’t know. Good thing I was in a good mood by then. Breathe in – breathe out. 10-9-8-7-6-5….

I was at the door. Seventy-two steps. Goal. Relaxed. All good. Yes, I knew there was this issue of the boulder in my shoe. Yes, I had tasks ahead such as opening the door, signing in, reading the (bad) joke another teacher usually has written on her white board inside the hallway, seeing all my favorite teachers with smiles on their faces, picking up an instrument, opening up the musical world for a student, and starting another day.

All in all, not bad. So many steps in any given day … in any lifetime, I guess. Today, those seventy-two from my car to the door were such a small fraction of the ones I’ve taken, or the ones yet to come. Almost always never noticed. Today, I took notice.

Kinda nice to give them the recognition so well deserved. Here’s to seventy-two in your life when you need them.

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