Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Leisurely Stroll

I went for a walk today. You would have thought I had decided to grow a third arm.

Today was errand-running day. My classes all start up tomorrow and I’m still trying to catch up on all the things I swore I was going to do this summer. I’m not sure how this happens every year, but it does. You’d think I’d catch on eventually, but then you’d be wrong.

So I set off this morning on my list of appointed rounds, the first of which was to get the car into the shop for a new set of tires. The old set – the ones that came with the car when I bought it three years and 45,000 miles ago – were looking a little smooth and one of them was sagging worse than the playoff hopes of my various favorite teams, so I figured it was about time for some new ones. Throw in the oil change that I was also on the long side of due for, and the folks down at the car place said it would likely be two hours before I could get my wheels back.

No problem, I thought. I’m out in mall-sprawl land. I’ve got a pile of errands to do. This can be managed.

Right across the street was the optician, who looked at my pad-less glasses and, to her credit, did not ask me what particular variety of idiot I was for wearing glasses in that condition for what had clearly been a while. Sometimes just knowing the larger classification (“idiot”) is enough, without sweating the details.

And then it was time for a haircut.

My hair continues to thin. While I am not especially thrilled by this development, neither am I heartbroken. I may not age gracefully, but I do plan on aging openly. The problem is that what there is of it continues to grow fairly quickly, and the hair style I have had since roughly forever makes it look like a comb-over when it gets too long, which I find annoying. And so it was time to visit the local haircuttery for a serious trim.

I thought about getting a new style, but trying to explain what I wanted to the hair cutter seemed like more trouble than it was worth, even if I could have figured out what I new style I might want in the first place. “More of same, only a lot shorter” was just easier, and when it comes to my hair I’m all about the easy.

The haircuttery was about half a mile down the road, which was a nice walk on a cool and blustery day here in Our Little Town.

A mile round-trip is about fifteen or twenty minutes of walking for most people, and since I walk fairly quickly I’m guessing I was on the lower end of that scale. It was a nice day and the road was packed with cars. And not once did I see another pedestrian. People driving by looked at me as if I were some kind of time traveler from the nineteenth century whose top hat had somehow blown away in the wind.

This, it turns out, was kind of amusing.

I shall have to do this more often.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I remember that strange experience when I visited Atlanta years ago to stay with friends. There was no one on the street at all, and hardly any sidewalks to speak of. I took the nearly empty train from my friends' house to downtown while they were at work and sat next to the only other passenger. I'm guessing that she was an urban planner. The notebook in her lap was turned to a page describing in glowing terms that Atlanta's structure (a giant, amoeba of bedroom communities with highways that lead to a hollowed out center) was based on Los Angeles.

Anyway, I've never felt odder or less safe on foot at noon than I did on that day. There were also all kinds of weird looks from passing drivers in huge things on wheels that probably set them back several hundred dollars a month in gas.

In SF people look at you askance if you drive too much, even if you're in a half-sized hybrid that runs off of farts and goodwill. This, in a city that inserts stairways into sidewalks to keep people from sliding down the 45 degree angles. :) Talk about opposites.