They're everywhere and can usually be found early in the morning. They're subtle in their approach and often make contact with a "Good morning" or "Lovely day we're having". But don't be tricked by their friendly way and kind-hearted look.
They wander the streets, usually in pairs, sometime in groups. They might be disguised as an exercise group briskly motoring up the street and showing no sign of wanting to communicate, but it's only a matter of time.
Oh sure, they may walk by your house for a week without noticing you or making eye contact, but that's part of their master plan. You might be out one day raking leaves, cutting the lawn or digging out weeds (Warning: you're most vulnerable when you're on your knees focused on a gardening chore). That's when they strike.
"Those weeds are a nuisance, aren't they?" you'll hear from nowhere.
DON'T ANSWER. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T ANSWER!
"They sure are," you hear yourself reply, and the bait has been hooked.
Suddenly, you're having a conversation. Your work has come to a standstill and you find yourself on your knees looking into the eyes of a kind old person. You can't control the conversation, you can't redirect the conversation, and you definitely can't end the conversation. You are now forced to listen about the history of weeds, their own experiences and … the worst.. their advice for your particular weed situation.
This could take minutes, hours, days. And it doesn't end there. They now have a new "friend" and you know they will be by again and again. They can sense when you will be outside and they will be there. They can sense when you arrive home in your car and they will be there.
So, is there an antidote, a cure for The Walking Retired? Alas, no, because it's only a matter of time before you become one yourself. Oh sure, you can fool yourself into believing it will never happen to you, but so has every Walking Retiree before you.
Just be aware of the signs:
• Constant need to go for walks. You say it's for exercise, but in your heart of hearts, you know the real reason.
• An overwhelming need to converse with strangers.
• Never leaving the house without your dog (the worst form of The Walking Retired).
• A sudden authority on every subject - it will happen.
• An urgency to brag about your children. If they're so awesome, why don't they come and visit more often?
• A sense that time has stood still - at least for your prey.
Remember, it's only a matter of time before we all become one of them. How do I know all this? Well, lately I've had an overpowering need to go for a daily walk. It's only for exercise, mind you.
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