Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's a Bit of a Hike

          "It's a bit of a hike," I said.
          My niece gave me A Look.
          "What?" I said, all defensive.
          "It's just that you always say that and whenever you do we always walk for like four hours," she said.
          I dispute the claim about the four hours*, and I had no idea that I say "It's a bit of a hike," so much. The whole conversation rattled me. It was like borrowing M's eyes and looking at myself through them to discover that instead of the kind of indulgent, endearingly retro aunt with the offbeat sense of humor and the fun hair and the no-more-than-normal interest in walking that I imagine myself to be, I was some kind of grimly sadistic Outward Bound group leader aunt, bristling with sensible shoes and bwa-ha-ha-ing as she flogged her helpless relatives on yet another Bataan Death March outing, forcing them to walk until their feet are worn down to nubbins.
          I had no idea I was this sort of Horrible Aunt. I fear, for the sake of the children, that I will have to give up saying, "It's a bit of a hike." And also doing anything walking-related with my niece and nephew.
          But I love saying, "It's a bit of a hike."  I'll miss that.
          I also really like being endearingly retro, at least in my own mind.
          On the other hand, I could probably have a glamorous new career as a drill sergeant.

*Forty minutes, tops.

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