Kids, I like to walk places, which makes me a little weird in modern-day America, where people apparently think walking three blocks to a store is pure insanity. One of the things I love about Hoboken, my home town, is its walkability. I don’t own a car currently, and don’t need one; literally everything I need is within easy walking distance, as long as you define “easy walking distance” as the distance that a normal adult in good health should be able to walk without complaining, passing out, or falling into some sort of storm drain. For me, that’s about 3-4 miles.
Now, some folks react to the fact that I walk 3-4 miles every single day with a bit of incredulity, as if spending hours at the gym working with machines is much less weird than simply walking around for exercise, but that’s okay. My brother, Yan, actually walks a lot more than I do. He often spends entire days just walking around. The man could use his legs as Jaws of Life in crash situations. So I’m not the weirdest Somers, which has always been my only true goal in life.
I like walking, what can I say? And when you walk around town every day like I do, you see some shit.
Some Shit Jeff Has Seen
ON my merry perambulations, I’ve seen
- Many, many fancy people with umbrellas in the sunshine. Now, I know the sun is bad for you. I am sure my own skin is so damaged from the sun I will someday look remarkably like Tommy Lee Jones. Still, the number of folks I see parading about in the sunshine holding cheap, regular CVS-style umbrellas over themselves is remarkable. So I have remarked upon it. I wonder if these folks maintain their low-rent fanciness in other scenarios as well; perhaps all of their cans of diet cola at home sit on fancy white doilies?
- Men walking about in 90-degree weather wearing long pants and jackets. Look, not everyone likes shorts. Some people think the world is far too casual, and some people just don’t like to expose skin. Fine and all, but … the jacket? I’ll be walking about in a constant puddle of my own sweat (and believe you me, I am wearing shorts in these scenarios and would go nekkid if I could) and some middle-aged dude will stroll past wrapped up like he’s recently teleported from the North Pole. And I can only think about the swampy nature of his nether regions.
- Neighbors who live on my block getting out of cars approximately 3 blocks away from their house. It’s certainly possible they drove from another, distant location. But I wouldn’t be surprised to discover they drove from their house to the Chipotle, because walking 6 blocks there and back is obviously not what god intended them to do.
- A lot of geese, because we have a lot of geese living on the river here in Hoboken. They make me unreasonably happy for some reason, similar I suppose to the Tony Soprano Swimming Pool Ducks.
- A lot of Stoop Sitting. I dunno about where you live, but here in the NYC metro area people of the older generations are still very fond of setting up shop on their front porch or stoop (or on the sidewalk if there’s no other choice) and … sitting there. All day. Just watching the world go by and engaging in conversation with anyone who wanders by. It kind of creeps me out, to be honest. My Mother once told me that when she was a young girl in Brooklyn, no one had air conditioning, so stoop-sitting was a consequence of their apartments being like ovens during the day. It’s possible these folks don’t have A/C either, but I am dubious.
Walking is about the only exercise I’m willing to engage in, because I am a strange and wonderful being filled with secrets. That’s me; if you prefer a gym or yoga or jogging, more power to you. I’ll just keep walking, and making mental notes about the terrors that await us on the streets.