One Step in Front of the Other

 

 

-9bcc6173bfec0f98.JPGWhen I was 10 years old I was allowed to walk on Haddonfield-Berlin Road, crossing highways entrances and exits to go to The Woodcrest Shopping Center. For a short time they had The Jerry Lewis Movie Theater, and I could get in for 50 cents, the amount of my allowances after chores. Or, I would go to W.T. Grant’s, deemed a twenty-five cent department store, but more of a five and dime. that sold colorful birds, toys, clothes, plastic jewelry, and featured a lunch counter. I was much too shy to go to the counter alone. But I loved getting lost in the aisles ending up with some sort of sweet. There was also Crest Lanes where I could bowl. I loved the crack of the pins being hit, and the overhead light of the score pad. In the other direction I would walk to The Haddontown Swim Club. It was lovely after a hot August walk to reach the pool and jump in to the cold splash of wet relief. These were some of my first destination walks.

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I would get upset that my mom didn’t drive me places, but with four children and a house to run, driving me to and from a destination that was just over a mile away, was not to be. What upset me then, actually provided me with a pleasure I’ve enjoyed throughout my life. I’ve lived in Manhattan for over 35 years, and a destination walk remains one of my favorite activities.

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Some of my best visits with friends have been walking to work with them, or going to a movie theater in another neighborhood. Films may not be fifty cents anymore, but the destination is still as satisfying. I love going to various farmer’s markets, or to a specialty stationary store. I walk to museums, or parks. Last week I took the subway just to walk in parks in other parts of the city. The destination is more often than not, motivation, but the walk is the true treat.

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Although I love city walks, and will make sure I go on foot when I visit other cities, walking in the woods, or taking a hike is equally as pleasurable. In these hectic times, walking has been wonderful for stress, it’s been reliable transportation, it’s been an education, and it’s been a gift.

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Delayed Flight

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I’m at La Guardia’s newly refurbished Delta Terminal. I’m on my way to Charleston. Everyone says what a great town it is. I look forward to getting there, but with the rain, the short runways, and delays, I’m at an iPod café ordering a dinner that will be a stark contrast to the wonderful cuisine to be had in Charleston.

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This is a wonderful people watching opportunity, and if I would look up from my laptop I might enjoy the many fellow travelers in my midst. We have any number of head coverings. The guy furiously texting has a grey cap turned with the lid to the back. The woman across from him is wearing a black burka. Across the aisle is a business woman with a pair of sunglasses she’s wearing as a band, It’s been raining all day and it’s dark out now. But I assume she must have her reasons . A tall fellow with a salt & pepper beard is sporting a yamaka, while carrying his fancy black hat. A bald gentleman is reflecting the fluorescent light coming from above. There’s a pair of shiny red earphones on another bald man, though he purposely shaved his head. It wasn’t an accident of fate.   One man with a kind smile has his long hair tied back in what looks like a large bun. No hat for him.

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It’s nice to travel in the middle of the week. Mostly people are calm, unlike the many family trips we took President’s Week, when families act out loud voices, agitated, and not shy to display their bad moods. Needless to say their children are misbehaved. But none of that tonight. For that I am grateful, and I’m willing to let the hours go by while I wait for our plane to show up.

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I’m at the airport to go on a solo vacation. I wasn’t stressed when the delays came because I’m making up the trip as I go along. I did get stressed when they changed the delay from 10:30 PM to 8:06 and it was after 6 PM, and I was still home with no cars available for another 30 minutes or so. I did get a yellow taxi, silently thanking Uber for my good fortune in the rain. Pre-Uber I never would have been able to snag a cab. And then after a long wait on the FDR drive, we made it to the RFK Bridge. I wasn’t aware that I was holding my breath until I received another text saying the flight was postponed until 8:30. I could finally unclench my jaw and breath a sigh of relief. Since the cab ride, it was delayed twice more. This after the back and forth in the afternoon. It feels like working with a really erratic patient on the Psych ER telling me, “We’re being invaded by aliens.” No, I mean Romanians. No Wait, I mean a covert ops organization with our government. No wait…” All I know is to stay alert and listen for what’s next. And, what’s next is a smooth night flight, non-stop to Charlston.

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