Power walking is an American phenomenon if I'm not mistaken. Grannies power walk through the malls in their bright white sneakers, moms power walk through neighborhoods in pairs, even my own Moomala power walked up and down the main drag in our SUV-filled community, crossing and uncrossing her arms for toning and cardio purposes. I admit it - I've even done some power walking myself.
I obviously walk a lot more here in Paris since A. I don't have a car B. I hate taking the metro home from work and C. I don't walk to die on a Velib. I guess I just consider it normal now - it's my preferred method of locomotion. Maybe that's why I go through shoes like it's my job...
In any case, maybe seven years ago my Dad's comment last week wouldn't have struck me as strange, but today, 7 years deep in my French life, it was so...American of him.
I was walking home from work and decided to give my Dad a call (I use walking time to catch up with my peeps).
What are you doing?, he said.
Walking home - I just left work.
How far is the walk?
I don't know - about 1.5 miles?
Wow, that's great exercise - I bet it helps you keep your weight down!
Now, please take that whole weight comment with a grain of salt - my Dad used to eat an apple as his daily meal and run miles and miles per week (obviously crashing at some point during the day from lack of FOOD). Now in his late 50's - almost 60! - he is obsessed with abstaining from carbs and likes to hike the mountains behind our house a few times a week. Just weeks after back surgery he walked 7 miles - for fun or...whatever.
I guess so, I said. But really, it's just because I like walking.
It didn't strike me as bizarre until a few days later when I thought about how a Frenchie would never have responded in that way. I guess exercise culture has finally hit France - people run in the parks and have gym memberships, but it's just so much more toned down than the LA Fitness, Spectrum- crazed California I come from.
Today, having promised Copain a poulet-coco dinner, I power walked home - and I guess I did raise my heart rate a bit. But really, I just enjoyed the fresh air and evening sun as it warmed the Place des Vosges and glinted off the golden statue at the top of Bastille...