Today’s Walk 1.105

When:  Friday– Mid-Afternoon- 4/13/2018
Weather: Low 80’s with ominous skies
Observations/Thought
After work is my normal time to walk.  With the need to recuperate from my early wake-up time, I barely hesitated.  I changed out of my work clothes and took a nap.  Not long, but effective.
After dinner, I did end up walking the neighborhood with my wife.  While walking north, the bad weather appeared to have past.  When we reached the farthest north point, we turned west.  To our south, the clouds were telling a far different story.  They were grey and foretelling wrong.  The pleasant breeze now became an evil wind enticing the storm to envelop our neighborhood.  When we had to turn south and go directly into the storm, we shortened our path.  We doubted the storm would allow us to arrive home before it started sneering and spitting at us.  Fortunately, our imagination was overly active.  The storm teased but didn’t bite.

Today’s Walk 1.104

When:  Thursday– Mid-Afternoon- 4/12/2018
Weather: Low 80’s
Observations/Thought
On this day, there was really nothing to see.  The unflattering woman by the pool certainly doesn’t count.  On the sidewalk, the 2 bikes and the dog walker were some of the least exciting I have seen.  The railroad workers were the only visible humans tied to anything of interest.
With all of the construction along the sidewalk running parallel to the train tracks, it was inevitable it would be leading to something.  Now, there are a number of signs posted.  Each of these signs is warning us to NOT approach the train tracks.  Trains will be running more frequently as the track is being tested for the route to the airport.  The signs put a special emphasis on the trains will be running more quietly.  We should not be as cavalier as we once were when crossing the tracks.  Since I have always preferred sidewalks, I don’t see this “modification” impacting me.  Those who find the track a much more enjoyable portal to the world may find themselves rudely greeted one day.

Today’s Walk 1.103

When:  Wednesday– Mid-Afternoon- 4/11/2018
Weather: Low 80’s, Very pleasant with a breeze
Observations/Thought
Semi-regular walkers
As the weather becomes consistently more pleasant, new walkers are working on their consistency. As I came upon a mother and daughter both walking their own dogs, I commented to the mother, “It is good to see you trying to make a habit of being out.” She smiled broadly and thanked me. I guess my extrovert is out today.
Doggy hugs
The “attack” dogs were pretty tame as I came upon them today. Their owner gave me a wave. As I stopped to comment, the dogs took my pause as an aggressive action. They came to the fence and reminded me of what they do best. The owner tried to calm them down. I acknowledged my part in their barking, “I brought it on. No problem.” And, my attempt to be social backfired. I committed to dial the friendly back a little for the remainder of the walk.
Dying Bees
It has been a frequent occurrence lately. Nearly every walk has some variety of bug on the sidewalk. Recently, I have seen more bees. I could say they are honey bees, but I don’t know for sure. They are on their backs with their feet up in the air. It is like they have forgotten which way is up. They are still squirming. I don’t have the heart to take them out of their misery.
Along the same lines, I saw two people in beekeeping garb near the fracking site close to the house. They were wearing white light-weight garments over their whole body. They had gloves and full headgear. Their neck was completely covered with a fine mesh in the front of their faces that would allow them to still see. I couldn’t hear what their instructions were. Using the full strength of my deductive reasoning, I was guessing some bees had made a home in some portion of the fracking area. Whether it was near the tanks or within any of the building structures, my deductive powers are limited. The beekeepers were definitely suited up and ready to get down to bees-ness.
Three things at once
I have seen a person do three things at once much more poorly. This lady was jogging. More specifically, she was doing something faster than walking. She was also talking on her phone while holding it in her hand. She found time to provide me an unexpected, “Hello” as she went past.
Three generations
I came upon these 3 in the wide part of the path. Mom and the dog were on my far left. The daughter was in the middle. Grandma was spreading herself out fully into my lane. Once grandma noticed me, she did slowly make her way somewhere near the middle. She had her hair short and in curls from the beauty shop on top of her head. She seemed over-layered for my comfort–but, her attire had nothing to do with my comfort. As we intersected, I believe mom and grandma gave me a, “hello”. I don’t believe grandma smiled at all. Maybe if I knew her better, I would realize her demeanor was screaming, “I am happy to see you.”

Today’s Walk 1.102

When:  Tuesday– Mid-Afternoon- 4/10/2018
Weather: Low 70’s
Observations/Thought
Stretch lady:
This lady is friendly enough, but calling her smiles “warm” would be an exaggeration. She is very tall. Her legs seem to dominate over 1/2 of her body. When I see her walking, she has a good size dog with her. She seems to leash the dog only when she feels the oncoming person might be offended to see him without. If I knew my dog types better, I would know the breed. I could easily believe it is some type of hunting dog. Usually, when we pass, she will give a soft “hello” with a half smile. Today, the conditions were different. The “path to nowhere” (but eventually to the park presently under construction) had her and her dog stopped at the fencing. They couldn’t go any further. Maybe they thought no one walked there. She was at the end of the sidewalk stretching all directions. Helga (She looked German) was doing kicks and squats and all matter of limbering. As I came to the end of the path and prepared to turn around, her greeting was less friendly than normal. She was probably rather embarrassed I found her in what she would have preferred done in private moments.
Building on the German angle, I could see her being an athlete in a pre-unification world. I am now convinced it is a German breed of dog. And, her lack of perceived friendliness may be because of her poor dental health.
Red blooms (red room)
Red blooms are far more appealing than a “red room”. This one house has owners who are either very lucky or who planned the blooming of their front color well. All this week, there are 5 to 6 shades of pinks and reds throughout. It consists of perennials and bushes. It is not just one little corner. The whole front of the house–from the garage on the left to the end of the house on the right is covered with some red/pink shade. The white exterior of the house is just a bonus–it allows the blooms to stand out even more. I hope they get enough pleasure from it. It brings great pleasure to me for the couple seconds I witness it every time I pass by.
More unfriendlies
I have covered this ground before. It seems like I am extrovert who demands everyone be social when they go out in public. Going into a store or restaurant is different than the intimacy of a walk. Often, it is you and just the other person. Failing to recognize a fellow human being when it is just you two seems to be something a hermit would do. His thoughts would be, “I hope everybody has an intestinal bug today. I hope no one is riding their bike or walking.” I go out on a sunny day and think, “I am glad I get to share this beautiful day with someone. It is too bad more people can’t find the time to enjoy this gift we have been given.”
Granted, I have days when I have no interest in talking to people. On these days, I may limit myself to a “hello” or a head nod. The non-hermit days are the days I will allow myself to go beyond the hello. It is the days I risk the comment where the blank stare may result. In my private world, the comment makes sense. But, on the other side of my eyes, they may hear the world entirely differently.

Today’s Walk 1.101

When:  Monday– Mid-Afternoon- 4/9/2018
Weather: Low 70’s — Spring is back!
Observations/Thought
So, I reached my 100th post. Now, what do I commit to? Looking at the same couple miles of concrete and pavement for over 3 months is going to get old, isn’t it? The pessimist in me is trying to convince the optimist in me that I have no choice but to give up. I have seen it all. Anything outside of the norm is an anomaly. In the 3 month period, I have exhausted nearly all of the anomalies. I should just give up and commit to writing about something else for the next 100 days. While tempting, I will persevere. I would claim adeptness if it was accurate, but I am so loosely interpreting what my “walk” includes, I can still make it work. I can jam in something about home-life or work-life without breaking the flow. I can maintain the energy this habit has injected into my blog. I can title the blog anything I want. At its core, it is building on the discipline I started at the beginning of the year.
I was achy today. My feet felt like lead. I could barely draw a full breath. I wanted so badly to turn around and just give up on the walk. The sun was so inviting. Its temptation was maintained until I reached the halfway point. From there, plodding along, no matter how slowly, was not really a choice. It was a necessity. I believe my itchy eyes and overall lethargy were allergy related. I couldn’t find specific proof on the internet they were all tied together. The alternative was having some disease that would result in death. The symptoms were known to arrive quickly and without mercy. I decided to wait a day before planning my funeral. The next day I was fine.

Today’s Walk 1.100

When:  Sunday–   4/8/2018, Mid-afternoon
Weather: Somewhere in the 50’s, Springier than yesterday, but not what I ordered
Observations/Thought
Unless I have skipped a few numbers or duplicated a couple of days, it appears I have made it to 100 days of this, “Today’s Walk” thing.  I haven’t walked every day, but I have walked most days.  I haven’t hit home runs on any of the days, but somewhere within some of the postings, there may have been a couple of singles or more.  The purpose was to become more disciplined about writing.  And, having accomplished that, the details and quality were of lesser importance.  Never being one to be content, I do need to try a little harder and be a little better at integrating true writing skills.  If a person wants to write, I am told they need to get a million words down.  Including this and some unposted items over the past few years, I am making a dent.

Look, Lady

As I came across the little road that is usually of no consequence when walking, a lady had stopped her bike on the other side of the road to take a picture. Being very familiar with this path, I was surprised there was anything of interest to take a picture of. As I neared her, I asked, “What are you taking a picture of?” She quickly replied, “This double arrow sign with a ‘Look’ on it. I haven’t seen one of those before.” The reason for the sign gets back to this nothing road. As the sidewalk comes up on this road, the sidewalk has “STOP, LOOK, LISTEN” painted on it in individual lines. This is on both sides of the sidewalk. When you reach the road, a glance to the left and right reveals near 90 degree turns on both sides. The extra concern by the city to emphasize the need to do something you have learned since being a small child is just to remind us not to be as lazy. I try not to have an entitled attitude. Some walkers must think the path gives them license to proceed without consequence. And, this is what drew this lady’s attention. Being reminded to “look” is almost like being reminded to breathe.
Jogging Momma
In the little bitty spot on the sidewalk where it is only narrow enough to let one person proceed safely, I encountered a mother pushing her stroller while trying to run. I don’t think she was overly committed to either. She stopped in front of me to check a text. She pulled the shade of the stroller back for a few seconds while texting before returning the shade and jogging again. As I came upon her from the opposite direction, she gave no indication I deserved any sidewalk at all. She continued her pace with a “hello”. As she passed, I was walking in the grass to make sure we didn’t collide. One other day, I was walking while a shirtless man was jogging toward me. He also chose not to give up any of his 3/4ths of the sidewalk. The grass served me that day as well. I guess if I were ever to engage in a game of “chicken”, I would be the one who blinked.
Pink frisbee
Not sure if a doggie lost his toy (I didn’t see any teeth marks) or if some child misplaced his Chuckee Cheese souvenir. On the path, I saw a little pink frisbee. It was not worthy of anyone who took frisbee golf seriously. It was a cheap variety that would allow you to throw from one person to another–as long as distance and wind were not involved. The conspiracy theorist in me considered it may have been placed on the path as a lure to some unsuspecting pedestrian. Under the frisbee was a poisonous snake or some type of bioterrorist threat. Or, maybe picking up the frisbee would have caused a small explosive device to be tripped. It was gone the next day. Whatever cost was associated with its removal, it was not mine to bare.
Stickman
I have seen the stickman a few times. Despite his description, he is 3-dimensional. He wonders the sidewalks of our neighborhood bearing a baseball-like bat in his left hand. As he wanders, he walks on the opposite side of the sidewalk you would expect him to walk. (When walking on a sidewalk, you walk on the right. When walking on a road, you are supposed to face traffic. Thus, you would walk on the left.). I have encountered him on the sidewalk. He has always been cordial. As in the case of the jogger above, I don’t know if his ignorance of “sidewalk norms” is intentional. He might just be waiting for the one walker he bumps into who won’t blink and who gives him a chance to show what he can do with the stick.

Today’s Walk 1.099

When:  Saturday– Mid-Afternoon- 4/7/2018
Weather: High 30’s to low 40’s, ugly spring day
Observations/Thought
The cacophony of barks found me twice on today’s walk.  Two things were quite clear after reaching the end of the final barking handoff.  Dogs don’t care who starts the barking.  If it is a big dog or if it is a small dog.  The pleasure is in the barking and the reward of being able to protect the yard where you dig/poop/sleep.  The dogs also don’t seem to care if they can see me.  If their reliance is primarily based on smell or hearing or constipation, the dogs rarely miss my presence.
On a very cold day, a dog still needs to be walked. When that is the case, the walkers have to grab whatever they can to stay warm. As the adult male was coming towards me on the path, I first noticed the two labs he was walking. One of them got a little close, and he gave a request, “Come on, Angel.” Once the dogs were passed, I took a quick glance up at the owner. He had a floppy-eared thing on his head to keep his ears warm. I don’t know if it was something he borrowed from his kids or what was its origin. It certainly is something a cowboy wouldn’t wear. Cowboy hats keep everything within their shadow warm, so real cowboys don’t need them.
Offended Donkeys: There is no set pattern when donkeys will start their braying.  I have not realized a strong pattern as to what makes them start their “ee-ahing”.  The only thing that seems consistent is the peaking of their braying somewhere in the middle and the great sales job they do on how badly they have been offended.
As I pass fellow pedestrians, I will try to catch their eye and give a greeting. (On sunny days, I get to cheat while hiding behind my prescription sunglasses.). With this particular encounter, it was more difficult. As I walked on the path, a couple of teen girls wearing read and bottle-blonde hair were walking towards me on the train tracks. The tracks were about 5 yards to my right and elevated a few feet. As the girls whispered and continued ignoring me, I considered a “hello” or some other method of greeting. (We were all crazy enough to be walking on this cold spring day. Exchanging niceties might help warm us all a bit.). They seemed committed to denying my existence. (I pinched myself and knew for sure I was there.). They kept trudging over the concrete railroad ties daring a train to hit them.