Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 213: Going for a Walk

Yesterday morning after practice, I decided to take a walk instead of writing. It was darn cold, and the snow was whipping sideways across the grey morning ocean. Because, of course, when it's 10 degrees and snowing and windy, and you've decided that today's the day you're going to start going for walks, why not go straight to the ocean?

Well, there was a reason. I had to pick up my car, which was being repaired at a waterfront repair shop.

So I did it, and I loved it. My face froze, and my jeans did little to prevent lowerbody frostbite, but my heart was soaring. Outside! Fresh air! The Ocean! Blood pumping! Beautiful historic town!

Full of the joys of the world and grooving on the fact that I was actually out for a walk for a change, I burst into the autoshop office with a smile and proclaimed how nice a morning it was. The man behind the counter just looked at me.

"Yeah," he said. "I used to like the cold too, but after thirty years of doing this"—he gestured to the gas pumps outside—"my hands are shot and I'm pretty happy to be inside right now. Out there in the cold, and you can't even wear gloves, because then you can't count the money. We're not being tough guys out there, we have to do that."

He wasn't complaining. He was just saying.

The Buddhists tell us we're all going to die, so stop worrying.

I guess they're right. But I also wonder how much that helps the guy at the gas pumps with the raw, red, stiff hands. Or the almost-homeless friend of mine who stopped by Friday night to borrow $5 and a bag of food, since he has absolutely nothing and his food stamps won't come in til Wednesday. Or the woman I passed on the way home that morning, leaning into the wind and stumbling across the street with six carrier bags and ragged duffles, all packed to the gills and probably containing all her possessions. Or my music teacher friend who's struggling with high blood pressure because he's working so hard to support his family right now for meager income, because he chose to pursue music, his sole passion in life?

And what good did those compassionate observations have when I then passed by the chi-chi boutique and went just a little gaga for that overpriced flouncy striped skirt in the window?

What to do? I think I'll go for a walk. A walk will know what to do.

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