Thursday, February 26, 2009

Walking like a Tortoise

Most of the time, walking drives me crazy. I am obsessed with efficiency, and walking is slow. I think the one-minute walk to the kitchen at work goes by too slowly. The idea of a treadmill simply boggles my mind. Yes, I know that walking can be peaceful and I'm sure I should be living in the moment, but in the race between the tortoise and the hare, I tend to root for the hare.

When I don't bike into work, I don't have a bike available for the trek from my office in Porter Square down to Lesley's
"south campus" where I teach an afternoon class. It's a solid 13-15
minute walk from door-to-door, but I can get from my office to the
classroom in just seven minutes if I bike. Just
imagine what I could do with those extra five minutes! In fact, it
would be enough time to wolf down some lunch, which I never seem to have time to do on teaching days.

Lately I'm walking much more than I'm biking. I live less than a
mile from work. When I wake up to a cold and icy morning, it's hard to work up enthusiasm for my bike with it's terrible windchill. In the last month or so, Dorea has been having problems with her legs; to give her a break I've been doing both daycare dropoff and pickup. This means that three days a week I take H to day care around 7:30am and pick her up around 5:15pm. It's much easier to walk than to bundle H up warmly enough to ride a bike, so I plod along without my bike like a tortoise.

But as a result of all this walking, I've made a friend. There's a man who commutes on foot in an exactly an opposite pattern from me. When I am headed to Porter Square around 7:45am, he's walking away. When I'm headed away from Porter at 5pm, he's walking back. Over the last month and a half we started to notice each other, then started nodding, then saying a brief hello with a wave. We now have big smiles for each other every morning and afternoon. Running into him is one of the highlights of my day. It's exactly what I love about being carfree, but I never would have met him if I was on my bike. If I don't watch out, I might get hooked by this tortoise lifestyle.


Sor Cyress said...

I suppose I must be a tortoise then --I love walking, and the walk from main campus to Porter Square (or just past, if I'm visiting my boyfriend) is one of the more relaxing ones I have.

Walking is such an automatic activity that I have time to turn my brain off and just daydream, or put active thought into stories or essays I want to write. It's forced time without my computer, where I can just step away from it all and let myself relax.

I don't have a bike, but I don't expect I'd use it often even if I did. Walking means I don't have to constantly be on the alert for cars, and just enough extra time to let my brain completely settle --perfect for when I'm stressed out.

Umyeah. Yay walking?

Andy @ Retire at 40 said...

I've always been a walker, my whole life. But recently I have become a cyclist too.

Seems funny but my walk to work is almost exactly the same as your, and indeed the bike will take exactly the same as you (shock horror). The funny thing is, I still choose to walk since I find it more pleasant in the mornings.

If I lived further from work, I would bike instead though. I have definitely fallen in love with biking recently.

Anonymous said...

You need more pictures on your blog for this to get off the ground...and yes, pictures of yourself not using a car. Sorry for the feedback, but it is for your own good.

vanessa said...

I'm a big walker. I'm from NYC and walked everywhere. Now I live in a suburb ( newton) and walking takes way too long. Part of my problem is I'd rather walk in heavy urban landscape and see lots of stores etc go by. When I have big house after another I get bored. Which is why I started biking to move a little faster. Then the houses somehow seem more fun. wierd.

But your post reminded me of walking to grad school and work in NYC. I would always pass the same middle aged couple going the opposite way as me. they were so cute with their lunchbags in their hands walking together. I never spoke to them but I loved seeing them each morning. I totally miss that.