Some of you remember back to one of my first posts, about Build-up and Tear-down activity. Here’s a link in case you didn’t catch that one. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2017/12/what-the-normies-dont-understand-theres-buildup-activity-and-tear-down-activity/
I just had an insight this week about the worst tear-down activity of all: what I call walk-standing. It’s that cowlike way of moving through, for example, street festivals—you stop at each booth, often chatting with someone until you’re profoundly uncomfortable, then move on slowly until you stop again. Sometimes in my mind, I hear the parody of a White House tour guide saying, “And we’re walking… we’re walking… and we’re stopping.” I did a site visit for work last March that was like that, where we walked, then stood and talked about features of the site, my legs turning to concrete, my spine seizing at the fracture site, then we plodded along some more. By the end of that visit, my injured knee was screaming and the rest of my body felt battered.
Walk-standing is the most destructive tear-down activity I can think of. Even before my knee met up with the jagged walkway that I now call Gillooly Lane, even before I got hit 8 years ago, when my pristine spine had no reason to be upset with me, I minded walk-standing on an unconscious level. I can remember the end of the Ski to Sea Parade, Bellingham’s Memorial Day event, slogging to my car in the cold rain, aware of a bone-deep exhaustion that made it hard to drive home. I was an unusually fit person at the time, able to ride my bike 80 miles a day on tour, and that parade still wiped me out. Now, after several spinal fractures, walk-standing is much harder.
Walk-standing is what did me in at VegExpo 2 weeks ago. There was no way to take a break from the walk-standing there; they didn’t have enough seating, and what they had was hard to reach without 20 minutes of shoving your way through a crowd. It was made even more diabolical by the fact that they removed all the lobby seating in the Convention Center so even if you did make it out of the exhibition hall for a breather, there was no place to sit down anywhere else in the whole venue.
There was a festival in Vancouver this weekend called Car-Free Main Street. It sounded like a blast, with a street fair down the entire length of the city, and I was raring to go with a friend. As we made plans, I suddenly realized I was signing up for a full day of walk-standing. My knee twinged in reproach at the very idea. I explained this to my friend, who understood without me having to justify my reluctance to set myself up for another “down week.” Instead, I spent the weekend catching up on work and taking bike rides of appropriate length and difficulty for my knee.
I’m a little disappointed about missing the festival, but I know I did the right thing. Society doesn’t recognize walk-standing as a thing, which is why it took me so long to name it and think about it as an activity in its own right. Today, I make it a thing. Does walk-standing affect you the same way? Where in your life do you find yourself doing that?