Monday, September 19, 2011

Do I Look That Dangerous?

For several months, I try to spend a few minutes several times a day stretching my plantar fascia and my Achilles tendon. My doctor told me in early June that these stretches will be critical to getting the plantar fasciitis to heal. The stretch involves putting the ball of my foot on a wall, heel at the base of the wall a few inches back. Then I push down on the ball of my foot while leaning into the wall. This gets a double-sided stretch going, both the foot and Achilles at the same time. It has been pretty effective.

At work, I will do this in the stairwells. I often have people walk by on the stairs and it has never elicited more than a “Hi” and a “I’m stretching” from me. Until late last week, that is. Then, a woman opened the door and bounded into the stairway, coming down towards me. She got about five steps down, and froze, staring at me as if I had a pipe bomb strapped to my chest, a large knife in my hand, a handgun in my other hand, and as if I were shouting “Death to America!” She started to turn to go back up. I realized that I had somehow scared the wits out of her, and I spoke up. “Hey, it’s OK,” I said. “I have a foot injury and am just doing a stretch. I do this all the time!”

She still looked a little wary, and said “Well, you never know about Downtown Richmond.” Then she continued down the stairs, gliding past me. Afterwards, I ran into the bathroom and looked in the mirror to make sure my face had not turned purple, or I didn’t have blood gushing from an eye, or that I hadn’t sprouted horns. Everything looked alright, just a normal looking (well, I think so) guy with gray hair and glasses. Not sure how I could have scared her that bad. I guess she just wasn’t expecting to see someone loitering in the stairwell – it is not like it is a great place to hang out. It was a weird feeling, because I wouldn’t hurt a flea. Well, maybe a flea or a tick, I’ll grant you that, but nothing more.

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