Nov 22 2008

The Walkin’ Dude

In the last few years, I’ve started walking a lot more. Not just walking for exercise, but walking to actually get places, although my dog often goes along. Last time I lived in Quincy several years ago, I don’t think I walked anywhere. At one point I lived five blocks from work, and I don’t think I walked there once unless my car was broken down. Another time I lived two blocks from the grocery store, and never walked there either. I don’t know why; I guess I just had the drive-everywhere mentality that’s so common. (And maybe driving on Broadway wasn’t so painful back then.)

When I moved to Barry, some businesses were as close as where I parked, so it just made sense to walk, and I had to walk the dog anyway. After living several years in the country where I had to drive 15 miles for groceries, it was a nice change, and it saved a lot of gas. Now that I’m in Quincy, I still walk to the grocery store and a few other places that are close enough. I don’t suppose I’ll be walking the 20 blocks to church any time soon, but maybe once in a while in the spring.

Toy Houses on College Ave

I notice different things walking than driving. There’s a lot of interesting architecture in Quincy; not just in the big houses in the historical areas, but scattered everywhere. Just east of 24th street on College, there are four tiny houses right in a row that are sort of a box-shaped adobe-style, painted in white and bright primary colors. They almost look like toy houses or something from a cartoon. It’d be interesting to hear the story behind those, since they were obviously built at the same time, probably by someone who thought that particular style was the coming thing. There are stuccoed houses, steel houses, houses with cool chimneys, and plenty of other things to see. There are tiny offices and home businesses tucked away here and there that don’t catch the eye at 30mph. You have time to admire flowerbeds, lawn decorations, and chalk drawings kids make on the sidewalk.

I smell different things too. In a few places, I’ve caught the unmistakable odor of sewer gas. I wonder if that’s normal in town, or a problem the city should be notified about? People complain about the smell from neighboring hog farms when they move to the country; I can’t imagine they wouldn’t complain about that smell in the middle of town. Just west of 24th on Oak, across from County Market, there’s a nasty whiff of it there. If I lived in that stretch of houses, I don’t know how often I’d want to spend time in my front yard. Then there are much better aromas: walking past Spring Street Bar the other day started my mouth watering. I don’t know what they serve there, but it sure smelled good. I’ll have to walk over there with my pool cue one of these days and find out.

Pepper Patiently Waiting

When I stop at the store, I tie Pepper up outside. I think she gets a lot of attention out there, because once in a while I come out and people are talking to her or petting her—usually kids. Most of the time she’s sitting and watching the door for me, though. I haven’t seen anyone else leave a dog outside while shopping, but it just makes sense to me: if I’m going to walk a dog, why not make a couple stops along the way? Now I just need to get her a backpack and have her carry some groceries for me, like Cesar Millan does.

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