Gandalf has one, Charlie Chaplin was famous for his and Brad Pitt was recently spotted with one. So why am I so reluctant to use a walking stick when I need to?
This came up for discussion last week in the Fatigue Management course, when I wailed about how scary it was to walk to the loo in a busy pub or restaurant (I have been known to trip and fall spectacularly, in full cartoon-mode). I can sit there for hours, carefully plotting the best route, working out how slippy the floor is and counting how many people I could quite possibly fall over in front of. If I don’t know where the loos are, I will send a friend first and extract every last bit of information from them. ‘How far did you say? Big plant to watch out for? Carpet or wooden flooring?’. And so on.
The suggestion from the group was that I should carry one of those folding ones in my bag and just use it for extra balance when I need to. It’s a huge psychological step though, isn’t it? It’s almost the same as the first time you go outside with a pram – you think everyone is looking at you and it takes a while to get used to it.
And how on earth do you actually walk with it? I think I may need a few trial runs. I will go out when it is dark, in dark clothing to a very dark place and give it a go. Do you put the stick down first, then walk or walk then put the stick down? What’s the rhythm? What if I trip over the stick?
I had a chat with a friend a while back about this conundrum. She put her hand on my arm and said, ‘Daaaarling (she’s a bit posh), never fear! Why do you think all the best ballet teachers have one? It gives them authority, it is chic and makes a statement’. Fair point. So the last time I was in town, I scanned the crowds, picking out every single person with a stick. I failed to find a single chic person. The majority were eligible for free bus passes. Where are all the young people with sticks? Where do they hide?