Thursday, June 4, 2009

Walk it Off

Most every morning I take my youngest children on a walk. It is the event that sets our day on the right foot; we get out, get our hearts pumping, sweat it out a bit - and return to conquer our day. It started out that way, anyway. It seems our walk has turned into much more. It has given me an invigorated view of humanity.

I'd call myself a people person. I love that moment when you meet they eyes of a passerby, they smile at your kids and return into anonymity. But I have become increasingly wary of the "cords & batteries" culture. It seems that everyone is plugged-in to something - be it their ipod, cell phone, gps, blackberry, bluetooth (For the love of anything, why must people use the bluetooth? It looks SO idiotic. I saw a woman in the 7-11 last week in a full burkha, only her eyes showing, and peeking out from the side of her robe was her bluetooth. Bizarre. I digress.) Information is being pumped into our heads from so many different stimuli, it leaves precious little room for conversation and civility.

And so we have embarked on our daily 3 miles and entered the land of the living. As we walked past the grounds crew on the main boulevard in our neighborhood, they shut off their blowers as not to get grass clippings in our eyes. We exchanged pleasantries as we passed - us in English - them en Espanol - and it was lovely. Neighbors we've never met make comments like "Can I get in the stroller?" and we laugh and pass by. And then today, we were out and the kids were whining that it was too hot. At the point of no return, the whining had escalated in to full-fledged crying when a woman who was outside ran into her house and returned to meet us with 2 popsicles. Immediately their ceased crying - and mine almost began. How thoughtful, how decent, how civil. That woman made me happy - not just for the moment - but happy with my fellow man.

My goodness, we need to get off the stinking cell phones and pay attention to the people who are passing by us on a daily basis. If our lives can be so touched by a simple popsicle, how much would a hot meal mean to a family with a deployed father? Or what would a quick errand mean to a local elderly person who can't get out? I just realized that in all my angst I haven't been the neighbor I could be, either. From this point on I vow to stay off of the treadmill, and keep on walking the hills of my neighborhood - and this time actually pay attention. It is good for my body and my soul.


megan said...

This is very true. As extroverted as I am, I find myself hoping I dont have to talk to people. I would rather email than call someone if I have to ask a question, Id rather go to the self check out to avoid awkward small talk at the grocery store, and I am thrilled when retail people dont greet me. We live in a culture where we can do errands all morning and not have to interact with a single person. At times it is comfortable but does nothing to build community. I loathe the burbs.

megan said...

im just irritated with the burbs because this kid down the street got one of those electic hummer cars and he has been driving around all day showing it off. the kids who were over the moon with their slip in slide now are green with envy over that stupid thing.

Anonymous said...

This is your mother - how many times do I have to tell you - don't talk to strangers!

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