Monday, November 05, 2007

I’m an Excellent Walker. Definitely an Excellent Walker.

Sometimes when I’m walking I worry that people are wondering what I’m up to. Generally I write this sensation off as some sort of adolescent flashback, but recently I went on a walk and realized people really were staring at me.

I was near the Emeryville border, in an area where a freeway has cut across the neighborhood. There, many streets that I’m sure used to be longer now terminate in an abrupt dead-end at the freeway right-of-way.

This must have caused enormous upheaval when it happened. I’m sure houses were demolished, and people living on either side of the freeway must have felt like the Berlin Wall went through their neighborhood.

One other very minor but interesting consequence of the freeway is that it’s really hard to inconspicuously walk the streets there. I kept coming to nub-ended roads and feeling compelled to walk to the terminus, then awkwardly turn around and waddle forty or fifty feet back the way I’d come. In most cases it was very obvious from the nearest intersection that the streets dead-ended, and I must have looked strange striding purposefully toward the chain link fence at the end of each one and then turning right around.

Finally a group of guys doing alfresco auto repair work wanted to know what I was doing. They said I looked lost, but I think that by “lost” they really meant “suspicious.” I found myself blurting out that I was compulsively walking the whole length of all the streets in the neighborhood, and that’s why I had to walk through their outdoor repair shop even though any fool could tell the street was not a through street.

They seemed to accept that. They must have seen Rainman.

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