A Walk in the Park by Emily Smart

I was giving our toilet the equivalent of a whore’s wash yesterday – a quick wipe on the plastic and porcelain with a wet wipe and a splash of Harpic around the rim – and I was reminded of my mate Catherine. It was Catherine who came up with the idea of the walking school bus. No, not the one where parents wear luminous workman vests and wrangle 20 kids to school trying to avoid busy roads, squealing brakes, broken bones and calls to 111. Our walking school bus is made up of five school mums, meeting at an ungodly hour in dodgy Lycra to walk the mean streets and parks of Grey Lynn in the hope of getting fit. It was just me and Catherine at the start, until we got drunk at a parents’ evening and started actively recruiting new members. Obviously, when you’re three sheets to the wind and on the way home via the kebab shop, it makes perfect sense to sign up for a walking group. Well, it did to Rebecca, Miranda and Emma anyway.

I was thoroughly enjoying our early morning rambles. It felt good to be away from the “Can I have Coco Pops Mum?” and “Come and wipe my bottom” which usually greet me first thing. Catherine and I are also great talkers. When I say great, I mean we talk a lot, not great as in interesting, intellectual conversationalists. However, things have changed and we are great talkers no more since Rebecca joined us. The talking has stopped, only to be replaced by heavy panting and wheezing as we race to keep up with her. Rebecca has been given the job of route planner. She is 8 ft tall, 6ft of which are legs alone. I can manage ten steps to her two. She is focused, driven, speedy and I have spent the past two weeks watching her backside from afar.

Anyway, back to the whore’s wash. We were talking the other day about how we all prep for our morning walk. Me, I roll out of bed, trip over the dog, stand on Lego, swear profusely and head to the bathroom to get changed. I splash my face with water to wake myself up, put some deodorant on, eat a banana, have a mouthful of water and leave the house. I can do all this in approximately six minutes. Not so Catherine. Now you have to bear in mind that we meet at 6.30 am, three mornings a week. She gets out of bed, puts on the kettle, (yes I know, the bloody kettle), has a whore’s wash (yes, undercarriage as well), cleans her teeth (sorry, I can’t be bothered with more reinforcing remarks), gets dressed and has a cup of coffee. I am starting to wonder why she bothers going to bed! As I walk down wind of her, I have also detected the aroma of mouth wash. Now that’s just showing off isn’t it? Who is she looking and smelling so nice for? Is it for our benefit? Maybe she thinks we smell and she’s trying to drop a hint?

It does make you think. Is Catherine crackers or should we all be trying to look and smell our best before ‘exercising’? I can’t be bothered. It’s a miracle that I actually manage to make it on walk mornings, never mind getting Vidal Sassoon in to do my hair and the special effects crew from The  Lord of the Rings to do my make-up. I am so slovenly that when I get home from exercise, I forgo the shower to do battle feeding and dressing the small people, and even drop them off at kindy and school in my walking gear! I know, absolutely outrageous, and quite possibly offensive for some of the poor parents who come too close with their cheery smiles and “Good mornings”.

So I’ve hatched a plan. Until I can muster the energy to get out of bed at a time when there is a 5 in the o’clock to shower before I walk, I’m going to buy some Febreze.  A quick squirt of that around my charmpits and nether regions, and I’ll be good to go.

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