I dropped the aging Camry with the mechanic at about 8:45 this morning. I had decided to walk back home, rather than take the bus, because I hadn’t taken my normal walk this morning. And I needed to do some walking to get back on target to hit my goal of walking 1000 miles by year’s end.
It was a walk of moderate length, 4.6 miles, but it felt much, much longer. Unlike my usual walks, taken early in the morning on near-empty streets and walking trails, this day’s walk was taken during the commute rush on very busy streets. The two most jarring segments were 1) crossing the feeder roads at Arapaho and the Dallas North Tollway and 2) crossing Preston Road at Arapaho. Crossing those roadways during the commute rush is something I do not wish to do again. Even waiting for the “walk” signals, stepping into the street is a highly risky endeavor.
Fortunately for me, I was able to dash across Preston Road quickly to avoid being run down by angry drunk soccer moms driving oversized SUVs full of screaming children while texting, talking on their cell phones, putting on makeup, and changing from gym clothes to work attire. I can only imagine how tough those crossings would be for elderly couples who need the support of one another to stay upright as they cross the road.
Aside from those episodes, the walk was generally disappointing. Diesel fumes from buses and Coca Cola delivery trucks filled the air along most of the route. Broken and buckled sidewalks along the way required constant vigilance to avoid tripping. A cacophony of car horns and revving engines, coupled with the screech of hard braking, was a less than pleasant serenade to my endeavor.
But all of the stress and discordant noise gave me a surprisingly pleasant perspective on the walk: it made understand more clearly how absolutely wonderful my early morning walks are. They give me time to think and allow me to experience a useful and pleasant solitude. By comparison to today’s trek along side heavy traffic, my usual walks are paradise! Were it not for my experience today, I might not appreciate my daily treks as much as I do at this very moment. That would be a shame.
So maybe I should take an occasional walk at rush hour, in heavy traffic, just to put my good fortune in proper perspective.