Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Walking Life

I believe one of the main reasons people are so in love with their cars is that they serve as a shield between themselves and the rest of the world. It's sort of like watching television -- you can see and in some cases, hear what's going on, but you're not involved. You don't like what you see? Drive a block down the road and it's like you've found a new channel.

After all the walking I've done this summer, I really think I'm onto something. In the car, you roll up a window or turn down the air conditioning and the problem is solved. When walking outdoors, you either find shelter or hope the bad weather lets up soon.

You notice things from the streets that the car windows hide: life - rabbits, opossums, snakes -- all of these things live in my neighborhood; until I stepped out of the car, I never saw them (save as the occasional bit of roadkill); details - people striving to improve their houses, streets and living conditions.

Instead of driving down to the riverfront this year, I walked the dog the night of the fourth. I was treated to several dozen small firework displays as we walked through the warm night.

Ultimately, walking makes you a participant in the world, as opposed to a spectator. You're forced to acknowledge others and even (gasp!) carry on a conversation with a stranger, instead of smiling and nodding with the radio personality.

What I'm getting at here is that if you're looking for a change and have somewhere to go that's not too far, walk to where you're going. I think you'll find it a whole new experience.

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