It got a little slow at work today so to avoid sitting at my desk pretending to be busy when people walked by the door, and because we were thirsty, Trish sent me to the PDQ to get some drinks. I walked out the door with keys in hand and stopped in the parking lot. PDQ is just across the street - literally across the street. And although we send our drivers there all the time on errands I decided to risk it and just walk.
It started out alright. I made it all the way to the end of our street uneventfully and then waited for the opportunity to cross to the other side which only came when the light that allows the parade of summer Walmart shoppers to file into the packed football-stadium-sized parking lot. As I was reaching the other side I heard what might have been a whistle.
I got our drinks and headed back, this time facing traffic for a distance of maybe 50 feet. In that time I got whistled at (definitely), "hollered" at, honked at, and then an 18-wheeler drove by, looked me directly in the eye, and blew that massive horn that 18-wheelers have that require that "honk-honk" motion with the entire forearm to execute (every kid who's ever been on a road trip knows this motion). By the time I got back to work I felt like a million bucks.
When asked what took so long I admitted that instead of driving I just walked across the street. I was met with these shocked looks that meant "You did WHAT???" Rhonda even said it aloud. "Yeah, I just, I mean, it's literally RIGHT there, guys," I said pointing to the PDQ outside our front window. They were amazed.
Crossing the street in a small town is very, VERY different from crossing the street in a city. For one thing, nobody does it in a small town. I said my decision to walk across the street was a risk, and that was no joke. The only people who walk anywhere in this town are people who can't afford cars, people whose cars have broken down on the side of the road, and people looking to get picked up in other people's cars. If you're not in a car you obviously can't afford a car. If someone drives by and honks, they assume that since you've clearly made some bad decisions in your life, why not make one more? If someone honks in the city it just means you're about to get nudged onto the sidewalk by their bumper, or you dropped something in the middle of the street. It never occurs to anyone to walk anywhere here because parking is readily available. In the city I would walk miles just to avoid trying to find a parking spot, not to mention paying $25 to park the car. Here there are fields of parking lots. Which, then, is why we're all overweight down here. If you put a gas-station sized parking lot outside of Walmart, or one of those confusing multi-tiered things like they have in the city more people would walk, who can get a diesel truck into a parking garage anyway? We would all get more exercise, lose those extra pounds, and then, like me, feel deserving when we get honked at while walking down the road.