Yesterday, the Day After Potentially Gluttonous Ruin -- Resisted, I was out of sorts. So, I took a walk. It wasn't like my more or less daily walking of the dog. Call it a Destination Walk. I walked downtown, from my home, about 2.5 miles.
Walking in this fashion is out of fashion in America. (I remember last month seeing people in Galway, Ireland, walking from downtown to the suburbs, young and old, walking.) People jog, they even walk vigorously, swinging their arms like militant evangelists of fitness. But we do not have too many walkable communities anymore. We are a nation of drivers.
It helped to clear my head.
You see things differently while walking. If you are fortunate, the city leaders will have provided sidewalks, good sidewalks for walking, as well as synchronized traffic- crossing signals. Yes, walking takes more time. Yes, you see things up close, like abandoned buildings from a long-lost industrial age, tossed food wrappers, old leaves. You encounter few, if any, other walking humans. You encounter cars, snarling by almost like caricatures in a cartoon. You smell their exhaust. I guess you become more fit and become smugly superior-minded in doing so, but not necessarily. (I hope I didn't and don't.)
I stopped briefly at an art gallery. Then I made it to Armory Square, a section of town popular as a night spot. Old buildings. Adaptive reuse. I read the paper at a popular Seattle-based coffee joint. Drank a Pelligrino mineral water. Didn't want coffee.
Walked back in the sunset.
I realized, quite literally, I could walk to my workplace during the week. It's a different direction, but I could do it. We used to walk to school. By ourselves.
My walking yesterday was the quintessential anti-mall statement on so-called Black Friday. My walk wasn't very black at all. It was washed in golden sunlight and chilly air. And I spent something like $2.75.
A walk on the most unwalkable of American days -- except for those sauntering in sealed cathedrals of commerce.