Walk This Way

Through a mixed-up series of not-very-interesting events, I ended up walking two miles this afternoon in last year’s flip-flops. After I snuffed out my irritation, and jettisoned the useless shoes, I found myself noticing things about my town that despite traveling these roads every day, I had never observed before. There is something about traveling on foot that opens my eyes.

In an effort to capitalize on/make fun of the popularity of the HBO series, the coffee shop had a pastry display entitled, “Game of Scones.” I usually go to the Starbucks, since the chain has better parking, but I made a mental note to give this local shop another try next time I need java out. Two doors down, I saw a sign advertising a “World-famous Comedy Traffic School.” I puzzled over this. Was this a comedy school that had a lot of traffic come through its doors, i.e. had trained a lot of comics? Or was it a Traffic School that taught with great humor? Either way, I had never heard of the joint and it was only about a mile from my house. I will have to look it up.

The local art museum had a new exhibit opening. I am forever making tentative plans to go there, but have yet to set one foot in the door. Since there was no line and no cover, I took a slow (barefoot) lap around the gallery. It occurred to me that, in general, canvases depicting naked folks on trapezes are not my aesthetic. But, I feel thankful to live in a place that encourages artistic endeavors, and I moved on.

I picked up a flyer for a Pilates studio in the basement of the knitting studio nearby. Everybody I know who does Pilates is rail thin. Did Pilates make them that way or is Pilates a skinny girl sport? Is it even fair to call it a sport? What is the difference between exercise and sport anyway? Jerseys? Competition? A snack bar? I was distracted from answering this question by what seemed to be a disproportionate amount of dog poop smashed into the sidewalk on Main Street. When I visited Paris, I remember this, too. Shop owners hosed off their sidewalks most mornings. We have weekly street sweeping in town. I know because I was ticketed a few weeks ago for not moving my car. But do we have sidewalk cleaners? Or maybe folks should just clean up after their dogs.

As I turned off into my hood, I noticed that one of my neighbors still has Christmas decorations up. A trumpeting angel. And quite a few strands of lights. Or maybe s/he was getting a jump start on this upcoming season. There is quite a bit of peer pressure around here to deck out your house and yard. Another neighbor has turned four or five kiddie pools into makeshift garden beds. Both cool and tacky. I decided we should all be friends.

As I arrived home, sore-footed and sweaty, it occurred to me that I could probably apply this same exercise in perspective to my own family. We trip and stumble out the door most days, late to something, forgetting something else. Most days, I think the kids know exactly what I am going to say even before I say it.

“Can I play on the iPad?”

“Did you fold your clothes yet?”

“Can I have a snack?”

“You can have veggies.”

And so on, and so on.

We get in ruts, and travel the same well-worn paths. I hustle them along without really hearing them. Without seeing.

With the start of summer vacation this week, I think what excites me most is the chance to take some new steps together — to walk, bike, jump, and hike — to open our eyes to one another, and be surprised by what we discover hidden in plain sight.

PS — Speaking of noticing, this is my new favorite family portrait.  Lizzie drew it.  First off, look how skinny I am.  Seriously, my legs go on for days.  Second, look how no one is crying or hitting or spitting soup back into a bowl.  When my kid thinks about her family, this is what she sees:  smiling people holding hands.  This warms my heart.



One reply on “Walk This Way”

So this is the tie in with Lizzie’s most excellent family drawing… love it ,’love you…um tho barefoot in poop…notsomuch!

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