Now that I have joined the ranks of our area’s winter “mall walkers,” I feel I am in a good position to answer pressing questions about this most enjoyable sport.
Questions? Indeed! Mall walking is not as easy or as simple as one might expect. It’s a sport? Indeed, again! And just as with any sport, there are rules and regulations to be strictly followed. Let’s begin.
Q: Do I need special attire for mall walking?
A: No. Casual, unassuming daywear will do. Do know, however, that folks tend to wear the same thing, day in and day out, with no shame. It’s like a uniform, really; at least that’s what I tell myself every time I pull on the same saggy sweats and striped top.
Q: But I like to dress up a little, change my clothes. Is that so wrong?
A: It’s a violation. Your peacock-y ways will not sit well with other mall walkers either. They may even turn against you, forcing you to hand over your coveted store coupons.
Q: How often do I say hello to the same mall walker I keep passing?
A: On your first go-round, you say hello. After that, you’re done. Sure, it may feel awkward to not say hello again, but those are the rules. No one wants to keep saying hello, which is why walkers bring phones that they stare at with a passion normally reserved for heating pads and TV.
Q: Am I allowed to window shop?
A: Allowed? It’s encouraged! Window shopping and mall walking go together like credit and card. Once you’ve reached your walking goal, you’ll know just where to head for your “exercise reward.” But you can’t browse in shops along the way. That’s a penalty. If caught, you may be asked to sit out a loop.
Q: Is it okay to walk at a leisurely pace?
A: What’s so lovely about this sport is that it embraces all paces: slow, medium, fast, fast with arms swinging so purposefully they ruffle mall plants. If you’re a slow walker, understand you may be passed and that this is no reflection on your efforts. Soon, you may be passing other mall walkers, too. And while you may be tempted to stick out your tongue as you do, you must suppress the urge.
Q: How do I break up the monotony?
A: It’s one of the sport’s most challenging aspects. You can try to befriend a fellow mall walker (although many prefer to keep to themselves). You can groove to the overhead music, adding some dance steps to your walk (although you may hear snickers). You can boldly reverse your loop (although you may get lost). And, finally, you can stop and smell the mall flowers (although many are plastic).
Q: May I indulge in one or two of Mrs. Fields’ cookies?
A: That’s for you to know and no one to find out.
Q: Where do I go to mall walk?
A: Eastview Mall, The Marketplace Mall, The Mall at Greece Ridge. All open at 7 a.m. Enjoy the warm climate!
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is avpalumbo@aol.com.