Follow The Bouncing Ball

If only we had known earlier, we could have connected with the entire Landen community.

One thing Kelly and I are going to miss about living in Landen is walking around the lake. It's not that we're complaining [I mean, now we'll be able to walk around Eden Park anytime we want], but it's been a wonderful place that we'll long for when we're gone. The lake is a beautiful place to walk, but you're never alone. There are always people walking the lake, no matter what time of day or how bad the weather is.

It doesn't matter where I am, but when I walk past someone, I do my best to make eye contact and throw out a, "how ya doin'?" The only time I didn't try this was walking the streets of Paris, Jerusalem, and Manhattan- where I would have said "Bonjour,""Shalom," and "Forgetaboutit" respectively. Walking around the lake forces interaction with people, or at least the opportunity for interaction with people. When we walk around the lake, there are some people who imagine they're in New York and refuse to make eye contact, burning a hole into the walking path by the power of their stare. Even if someone isn't looking, I'll still say, "hello" just because I want them to know that they're not invisible.

As you go around Landen Lake, there's a tennis court on the island there. Last week as we were walking, I saw a stray tennis ball lying in the grass. There was no one on the tennis court and no one around so I went and grabbed the ball [true, this could be regarded as theft, but I refused to put up posters for a lost tennis ball] and claimed it as my own. For the next mile I bounced it as we walked, enjoying myself thoroughly. Finally Kelly wanted in and we started playing a game as we walked, bouncing the ball back and forth to each other. I knew it was official when we left the house to go walking the lake the next day and Kelly asked, "aren't you bringing the tennis ball?" I ran back to the house to get it, and off we went.

Just to get this out there: Kelly's pretty good at the game [I really wanted to type "for a girl" at the end of that sentence, but I'm proud that I refrained]. She has good hands and makes an even cleaner bounce. I always try to increase the skill level a notch by bouncing it through my legs. The best part about playing is when you get an open stretch of street in front of you when you can really bounce the ball high. The only thing that thwarts the flow of the game is the proximity of the paths to the lake and major roadways. I have yet to be killed or soaked because of a missed ball, but I do believe it's a possibility. We haven't lost the original ball yet, but I've tempted fate a few times, believe you me.

We were having a ton of fun but then realized that it had become more than just a game: we were now attracting attention from the people we were passing by. Yeah, they might have been laughing that two adults would act so childish as to bounce a ball to each other as they walked but, overall, they found it interesting. We passed one couple who were walking their dog the opposite way around the lake and, when we passed them the second time, the guy said, "I'm open!" So I threw him the ball; he wanted in on the game. We get more smiles as we walk past and we can tell that they're interested.

It's been a little frustrating living out here in the 'burbs because it seems impossible to connect with people you don't know. We've had more people acknowledge us as we were walking with the tennis ball than we have our previous three years here. I think back and wonder, "if only we had done something this silly earlier, we might have met a ton of people." Of course, we would have been known as "the crazy ball-bouncing people" but that would've been alright. But at least now we know that people are intrigued. Who knows, we might start a brand new fad for walkers everywhere. And we'll probably take it with us in the move.

First thing we'll do when we move into the new place: buy tennis balls. There are a lot of trails in Eden Park.