Working out, safely.
After seven years of living within the vicinity of readily available public amenities, I've decided to make use of one of them,the local gym, two months before we're due to move out. It's no fancy affair, just a few equipments in an eighteen-by-nine room. The work clothes I got for myself at the beginning of my tenure is beginning to feel snug and I wasn't breaking enough sweat walking from my friend's car to the train station entrance. I'd have gladly walked the distance from my office to the station if not for several life-threatening factors.
To begin with, the roads here are rarely curbed, meaning you'd be walking ON the road,either on the side or, if you're completely bonkers, right smack in the middle of it.(I think the government's campaign for people to walk against traffic is pointless so long as they're still walking ON the road).
Even if there are continuous and safe curbs to tread on, there's the dogs issue to deal with. Here in the motherland, domestic felines and canines alike roam the streets unhindered. Just last month my family had a nerve-wrecking encounter with a surprised-but-decided-to-be-fierce mongrel on our walk to the local mamak's. It was an amazing scare but none of us were hurt, except for maybe my father's pride when he slipped to his rump in taking off his sandal to fend of the malicious dog. So you see, a walk down the street 3 minutes from home can be quite a life-threatening adventure.
Say the local authorities, for some insane reason, decided to do their job and round up all the strays, another issue persists. Local dog-owners, at least the ones in my neighbourhood and the ones near my office, seem to favour the streets as one big, free, maintenance-free litter box. This is as disgusting as you can imagine. Every morning and evening, on my way to and from work, I can see individuals standing by the road-side, innocently holding a leash while their domesticated poop-machines do their 'job'. Some don't even bother going into the bushes. I used to walk home during my final years of high-school and I've been an unwilling witness to the products of this daily irresponsible act. I'm sure some irreversible damage's been done to my psyche from unwanted sightings of excrement. Don't get me started about (accidentally)stepping on a pile of crappola.
Irresponsible bowel movements and insufficient pedestrian amenities aside, there's the motorists creating traffic and emitting carbon. The dangers of inhaling car exhaust is an old and oft-discussed issue. Pedestrian priority is non-existence here in the motherland. The rule is, if you see someone trying to cross the road, be sure to speed up and make sure the person doesn't cross in front of you. Now, thanks to low cc motorcycles that can weave in and out of traffic and in between cars faster than you can run to the loo, we're faced with the danger of snatch- thieves. This reckless breed of purse-dippers are becoming bolder too, slashing their victims needlessly in procuring their loot. Every time I cross the road, my purse is clutched to my chest rather than kept in my hand-bag. In the event that my handbag gets snatched, I'd at least still have saved my purse. It's ridiculous carrying a bag that doesn't serve any purpose. That clearly reflects the (near-bedlam) environment we've had to live in.
So, after seven years if walking and looking past that gym, I've decided to put on some running shoes and give it a go. At least I'd be breaking a sweat without unwittingly reducing my life span.