Why walk when you can drive?

Posted on January 7, 2009 by yankeebean

yankeebeanI’m back the U-S-of-A for the lovely Christmas season, and so many blog ideas have been rolling around in my head that I’m still reeling from it all…  But the thing I miss the most right now (aside from Mr. Nice Guy) is the simple act of walking.  Just walking!

People in America don’t walk, and the idea of walking is considered grotesque or beneath everyone’s status.  Like only the surfs and peasants walk or something.  I went to run some errands with my brother the other day, and then we went out to breakfast.  We were in CVS picking up some cold-related stuff, and the breakfast place we went to was only 3-doors-down in a strip mall.

We walked out of CVS back to his car.

We re-parked about 5 spaces closer to the breakfast place.

We walked into the breakfast place.

And this isn’t at all uncommon!  Driving is king in America and I can’t think of a cotton-picking thing that could ever change it.  But I really don’t get it, because I LOVE walking everywhere.  Into town for a coffee, to a restaurant to grab some dinner, around the York city walls to see the views, walk walk walk walk walk-ity walk…

My Dad was talking about a walk the other day like it was some kind of epic, something no one should ever venture.  I was imagining a mountain trail through woodlands infested with rabid bees.  With mud-slides.  And ninjas.

So I asked, “How long of a walk is it?”

He said, “About 30 minutes”

30 MINUTES!!  That’s how long it takes me to walk into York city centre and I do it all the time!  (Except without the mountain, rabid bees, mud-slides or ninjas)

Ok ok ok, I’ve heard it said that America isn’t built or walking, and I give-in on this one.  Sidewalks are a rare and impressive site, usually only reserved for walking between stores that are DIRECTLY next to each other (otherwise re-parking is fully expected and walking might result in getting mowed down by an SUV with blind-spots the size of Rhode Island)

I just had lunch with a friend and let her drive me home rather than walking back because the only path available between town and my house is a bike-path that takes you through creepy covered woods where people have found whole piles of clothes (like, underwear, shirt, pants, shoes and everything).  And the Blair Witch can bite me… cos I’m gonna drive.

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Iota January 9, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Oh yes, indeed. I really miss walking so much. I’m sure people laugh at us for walking to our neighborhood pool. It’s a 6 minute walk. Okay it’s probably a 1 minute drive, but what am I going to do with that saved 5 minutes? And in a car in August when temps are over 100, it’s pretty unpleasant before the air con kicks in (which is longer than a minute), whereas a 6 minute stroll under the trees in the shade is just enough to prepare you for a swim on the way there, or to dry you off on the way back.

    Do people re-park between different sections of their gym complex, do you suppose, eg when transferring from the treadmill to the squash courts, or whatever it is? I bet they do.

  2. peacefulyorkshire January 8, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Yes you are RIGHT on with this post… my mom will move her car too over a couple of spaces to get “closer to the door of the next shop”. I had to tell her that we could walk across the parking lot, I am game for it. It was a new concept to her!!

    Oh and walking is really dangerous!! My mom also lives 5 minutes away from Wal-mart…. and I wouldn’t dream of walking. There are no pedestrian crossings and I would probably get ran over sadly. Thus we drive 2 minutes…

  3. notfromaroundhere January 8, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    OK, I must have been from an odd family because we would NEVER repark in the same lot, and my parents used to try to “optimize” a spot between several stores that were quite a long distance from each other in the same shopping complex so as to be able to walk between them.

    Totally with you on America mostly not being built for foot transport, though. When last living in the US, I lived less than 0.5 miles from a hiking trail for a while and I used to have to drive to the trail head and park there because there was no sidewalks and the road was dangerous.

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