Our eyes meet. She looks away. Our eyes meet again. I looked away. We keep walking. Our eyes continuously run into each other. 50 feet apart. Now 40 feet. She’s catching up to me! Wait, how are we continuously looking at each other’s eyes while we’re walking? It’s because I’m walking backwards.
When someone starts catching up to me while I’m walking backwards, it’s a prolonged face-to-face examination. They can’t look anywhere else and neither can I. They’ve never been in this situation before and the tension builds. I’m usually walking only slightly slower than they are, so the “chase” can go on for a while.
I started walking backwards in my suburb about three months ago. The idea is from a guy on Instagram called Knees Over Toes Guy. Walking backwards helps reverse the effects of sitting down. Your shoulders are open, rather than hunched. You use the tibialis and the VMO muscles which stabilize your knee.
Obviously, walking backwards is not very common. I’m always wondering what people are thinking when they see me. “What the heck is this guy doing?” “Does he always do that?” Yet no one has asked me. Not sure if it’s a Covid thing, or if people are just not curious? Maybe they are secretly judging me in their minds, satisfied with thinking, “There’s that weird guy again.”
I’ve mostly broken through the psychological wall and no longer have to fight the compulsion to turn around and walk forward when other people can see me. To pretend, “Oh, I was just goofing around for a sec, I’m not weird.” But if other people are around when I start out, I still do feel weird. Sometimes I’ll keep walking forward until the other person is further away and then I’ll turn around. Weird how the mind works.