20 October 2007

On Thursday my 'check engine' light came on while driving home from music class. I have a very loooong history of issues with my car that I will not go into today. When I got home I realized that Elliot and I were housebound until the car was examined. Normally I would not mind a day at home if it were a choice I made but because my car was trying to prohibit me from leaving the house my urge to go somewhere was so strong. The grocery store where I usually shop is right by the Starbucks featured in a previous post "A Short Walk" so I decided that since I survived it once it would be healthy to do it again (5 miles roundtrip) only this time I would bring lots of water and wear appropriate footwear. After all, those pesky pregnancy pounds are not melting off by themselves!

I packed all the necessities in the bottom of the stroller (water, diapers, extra blanket, wipes, cell phone, etc.), I strapped in Mr. Graham and we were on our way. It was a gorgeous fall day, sunny and warm but not hot. We were breathing in the fresh air and admiring the changing colors of the trees in our neighborhood (yes, we have real autumn in California - a rant for another day). So over the hills (freeway overpasses) and through the woods (overgrown bushes that required special stroller moves to avoid getting branches in Elliot’s face) we went on our merry way to the grocery store. Once we were over the hills (out of the housing area and into the shopping area) the air was not quite so fresh and as we approached the first major stop light I realized that there were no other people walking - we were alone. Well, that is not entirely true...we did pass an old woman walking to the bus stop and when we got to the parking lot of the grocery store there was a disabled homeless man in a wheelchair. Other than that, walkers were absent from the streets. You could tell that the drivers were not used to seeing walkers either because when the red hand was solid folks were hesitating to turn in front of me and when the white walking android was signaling for Elliot and I to walk people were carelessly turning in front of us - yikes this was dangerous! Keep in mind I was actually hit by a car once (in a crosswalk!).

I remember when Dale and I lived in San Francisco (where I was hit by a car) I made the argument that people in cities were probably "healthier" on average because of the amount of walking they do. One of the things I miss most about The City is our inability to conveniently walk to most places (dinner, to get groceries, pick-up dry cleaning, etc.) Walking to the grocery store in the suburbs is a 2-hour mission filled with smoggy air (yes the city has that too), inconsiderate drivers (ok, city has these too) and an overall landscape that pretends to be walker friendly (bushes overgrowing sidewalks, sidewalks missing where you need them most - the city doesn’t pretend). Have you ever noticed that the sidewalk ends where the driveway begins at shopping center? How is a walker supposed to enter the shopping center safely? I was forced to walk in the same driveway that cars use and then bolt to the nearest shopping center sidewalk to avoid getting smeared. Figured I should end on a dramatic note. Oh, and I guess I should mention we got home safely :)


hannah m said...

Crazy suburban adventures! But you're so right...who knew walking in suburbia could be so dangerous?

Vince said...

These guys have actually made a business out of determining whether your house is in a "walkable area." According to Walkscore "Buying a house in a walkable neighborhood is good for your health and good for the environment." http://www.walkscore.com/

AmyK said...

We got a 42, not so good! :( I love this site and Dale will thank you when it comes time to buying another house - haha!

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