Saturday, March 20, 2010

but first I'll walk in circles 'round you

Back in the old country, I used to walk all the time.

The area of London in which we lived was very conducive to walking. It was laid out in a grid pattern, with a mom and pop store on nearly every corner, a playground every few blocks, and if you headed north along Ridout and crossed over the Thames, you could be downtown in 20 minutes. Sure it got hellishly hot and humid in the summer, but the streets were lined with massive trees which provided a glorious shady canopy, so that you felt as though you were in a hospitable jungle lined with pretty brick houses with large and welcoming front porches.

And then we moved here.

The trees are regular size, but the leaves are much smaller. And while this particular neighbourhood is old enough that it is not plagued with those nasty front garages which bump out from the house and take up most of the streetscape, it's a very different universe from the genteel neighbourhoods of southwestern Ontario.

As you know, there are no straight lines here in the suburbs. This place is a maze of crescents and cul de sacs, a rabbit warren of closes and meandering ways. Which is fine if you are just wandering, but which drives you mad if you are actually trying to go somewhere.

Lately though, I have been attempting to walk a lot more around here, in this place where you can walk forever without getting anywhere. Part of this is an attempt to cut down on vehicular use, part of it is a need to get out of the basement and away from the elliptical, which I think is starting to give me chronic hip pain.

Today I walked to the vet and back, fetching some more palatable kibbles for the increasingly finicky resident house cat. On the way there, I took the (relative) shortcut past the rich people's houses where I witnessed many a million dollar renovation underway. On the way back, I walked the ridge of Fish Creek Park, where I met with joggers and dog walkers, and watched the mountains encroaching from the west.

My feet may be a little sore, but my hip sure feels a lot better, being away from that elliptical bitch slave-master. So I have now rescued the OFKAR's abandoned Walkman out of the junk drawer and am charging it up for some future walks. I think with music, walking around this circular neighbourhood will become something I can embrace.

As long as I don't end up developing an iBoner for personal listening devices.


mister anchovy said...

I love walking around our neighbourhood!

Allison said...

I've been missing my walking and exercising lately. It's hard finding the balance when you're injured. I did go for a little walk yesterday, which was nice. Even though it'll take me a few days to recover the view was worth it. :) It is nice getting lost in your own neighbourhood.

John Mutford said...

One of my favourite walks was downtown St. John's. So much to see and so much character. Then, I've heard it's undergone scads of development since I lived there, and I'd probably not recognize the place anymore.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You probably have pretty brick houses and big front porches in your neighbourhood, Mr Anchovy.

I love getting lost in my own neighbourhood, Al. That's why I will often take the backlanes, because it looks like someplace new.
Glad you had a good wander yesterday, during the fine weather.

You really never can go home again, John, which is sad. How was Japan?

Wandering Coyote said...

Well, yeah, a walkman makes many a thing way more enjoyable. I don't get on the bus without mine.

I never got those "new" neighbourhoods. You're right: they are rabbit warrens...And they're everywhere now! WTF? I guess grids are soooooo passe...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I miss grids, Wandering Coyote. I am a big fan of straight lines. And getting somewhere via one.

Charlie said...

All of Phoenix metro is laid out in a one square mile grid with a chiropractor, Chinese restaurant, McDonald's, and Walmart on every corner.

Inside those square miles, however, are the the residential streets that go willy-nilly. I can get dizzy just walking. Martha thinks she should sew my name and address in my underpants in case someone finds me wandering around lost.

No good. They already say Tommy Hilfiger on them and that would just confuse out idiot neighbours. (Note the "u".)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I now have the image of you as a Tommy Hilfiger underwear model forever etched in my brain. You realise that, don't you, Charlie?
Phoenix sounds confusing. I guess you just aim for the nearest chiropractor and hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

I loved walking in a park in Phoenix... Papago Park...nice walking footpath that no one, not even me, could ever get lost on! A roadrunner crossed my path one morning!

Anonymous said...

When walking unless for exercise, I seek out the hypotenuse also but it seems the "sprawl" planners this side of the Atlantic deliberately try to obliterate them.

Anonymous said...

When walking unless for exercise, I seek out the hypotenuse also but it seems the "sprawl" planners this side of the Atlantic deliberately try to obliterate them.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I was so thrilled to discover that road runners exist outside of Bugs Bunny cartoons, Berni!
Well done not getting lost in Phoenix. I hope you had your name written in your underwear just in case though,

I don't know what it is that NA planners have against straight lines, Leazwell. I think the suburbs were planned with leisurely Sunday drives in mind.