A Walk in the Burb
For the first time ever, in a suburb where cars whiz around curves and race to beat red lights, I walked to the library and bank. If I’d worn shorts and sneakers, jogging in place at intersections while waiting for the light to change, people would have thought, “Oh, she’s exercising.” But I wore a skirt and tank top, baseball cap and red flats, carrying two bags filled with library books. Cars slowed down, drivers rubbernecked me, a few honked. Perish the thought that I should use my legs to walk rather than pedal-push.
There were so many things I had missed while whizzing around in my car.
— The sky was a postcard blue, smudged with cumulus trailed by white, wispy cirrus . Scallops of blueish-grey hills lined the horizon.
— There are six different Korean restaurants in my neighborhood.
— Advanced Cash, that money-transfer place I had spent an hour looking for in my car, always faced the road.
— The last four digits on the banner, offering pre-sale discount membership to the new gym, are actually 5992.
— The green-stuff under the trees that line the road are lush spider plants.
— A lady coming off the highway stopped to let me cross. I waved and smiled.
— Flowers sprouting from weeds can be pretty and attract beautiful butterflies.
— I said good morning to the Latino workers huddled under the tree near the library. They said good morning back and wished me a good day.
— The library is only 30 minutes’ walk from my apartment. I used to cover the same distance daily when I carpooled to DC and walked from State Department to Dupont Circle. I never had to count calories then.
— Suburban sidewalks in America are strangely clean of humans. In many countries, I’d have stopped to finger a necklace on sale, chatted with a woman selling bags, shooed off a peddler determined to sell me a carving.
— The lady-teller at the bank asked me if it was hot outside, and I learned she had a name, emigrated from India, and had the same knack for bearing heat sans air-conditioning.
— I dreamed up a better beginning to my novel.
— An hour of television or Facebook is really long. That’s how long it took me to run my errands.
So, on my way back, I turned my back to the traffic, and walked with my chin up, a jaunty swing to my hips. The pedal-pushers could kiss my derriere.