When you walk, you see things.
I am trying to make more time to write. I feel like I am my own marionette, pulling myself through a fast-paced script for a faster-paced life. It’s like the rapids on a quick-moving river. You spend all your time balancing the raft, consumed by the experience and vivaciousness of the trip, that you don’t get a chance to sit back and appreciate the beauty of the rock formations the river cut. At the end of the day, I find myself laying next to my daughter in her absurdly scaled bed, snuggled, and falling asleep. We joke that she’s putting us to bed – we often forget to wake up after she falls asleep.
Well, looks like there’s finally someone with enough balls to take on the corrupt New York State officials. We’ve otherwise been Illinois without the consequences. This gives me hope. There are a few politicians I feel whose intentions are for the people – Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz come to mind – who have spoken against very popular politicians or entities when it was fit. Most politicians in NYS fall in the rank and file. Fearful of losing whatever power they have managed to acquire, those who should otherwise be rocking the boat carefully balance stones to ensure it never tips, and our politics remain corrupt.
I suppose the facet of our political culture that frustrates me the most is the dearth of truly brave leaders. And the tricky thing is that there is a fine line between bravery and foolishness. There’s a degree to which playing nice accomplishes your goals. There’s a degree to which your colleagues – fellow politicians – need to feel they can trust you. At the same time, there’s an obvious institutionalized complacence for inefficiency and often corruption. As if everyone gets so caught up in the minutiae of what they are doing, that they don’t take a step back and say, “Wait a minute!” Politics is known for being dirty for a reason, and it keeps reminding me why I’m registered as a Green.
I walked to an emergency shelter that I’d never visited before. The clients weren’t there, needing to be out during the day as per the shelter’s rules. I felt like I was intruding on private space, but it looked like a hotel before it was occupied – everything was crisp and clean. It wasn’t that far. I don’t walk as much as I did before moving to Buffalo again. I did not have a car nor a kid, and that facilitates long walks. When you walk, you slow down. You see things, notice buildings that were otherwise absent. Driving can be like experiencing the world through a tube – you see the bits on the outside ends, but not much in between. Even bicycling can blur your surroundings a bit, but to a much decreased extent. Pregnancy-related balance issues are keeping me off my bicycle. My schedule, and its tightness, keeps me driving. I’m not Percy Grainger; I can’t take hours and hours to walk. Though when I can, the world shrinks.
My sense of distance is still informed by not having a car, despite the fact that my family is currently in possession of two of them. When you don’t have a car, your world shrinks. Your activities might be mostly bound by where you can bike, where public transit can take you, and where you can walk. I rarely left the city of Seattle. I doubt I’d often leave the city of Buffalo if I didn’t have a car. Walking blocks can take some time – walking miles takes even more. Bicycles are often faster than buses, but they are still not entirely quick. I perceive the suburbs as being far away, though my husband works in one and drives there everyday. I still think of things in walking time. I don’t like going more than a couple miles from home. And that’s a thing I think people don’t understand about the car-free. You don’t get out very far, but you know everything within very very well.
Your life slows down when you don’t use a car.