The Age of Walking

In  a high end fashion shop in Tel Aviv I am curiously browsing through items that seem pointless to consider for my then bachelor condition. Even in my current marital status I would probably avoid spending the amounts marked on the labels in that shop. This happened sometime before my moving to Canada. A man approaches me dressed up in a suite and tie and asks me for directions to a place that is a fair distance away.

I ask the shop attendant whether they have a phonebook so that its map will facilitate my response. As I show him our location and point to his destination I ask him whether he intends to ride or walk. Each decision would result in a slightly different route. The guy takes my question as an implication of a different kind and asks “Why, do you think I’m too old to walk there?” I smile and say that even people my age occasionally take a car or a bus for that distance.

“How old are you?” he asks in a politely confrontational smile.
“Thirty three” I say.
His smile changes into a gaze of recognition.
“Oh. I’m ninety...” he says.

We greet each other farewell and the man steps out to continue his walk.