Saturday, August 22, 2009

Traveling at "See Level"

I think it was Amtrak that coined an advertising slogan "Travel America at 'see' level", touting the advantages of traveling along the rails and actually seeing the country side go by. Walking, biking and busing through KC could be similarly described. Not having to concentrate on other drivers, speed traps, red light cameras, surly, donut deprived police and other obstacles gives you a more intimate view of this frankly somewhat broken and battered town.

You get to know sidewalk cracks and upheavals, just as you get to know potholes and rough crossings. You can relish the tenacity of weeds, flowers and trees as they cling to their little patches or grow quickly to obscure an abandoned building. You can talk to people, on the way back from Gomer's with my precious cargo of vodka, I had a wonderful time on the porch of my neighbors Mitch, John and Scott a couple days ago... Scott is Scott, John is writing a play and Mitch, a contractor, is pulling another disastrous project out of the ditch, as he is often called upon to do. Sylvia and I discussed spider plants and I took some seeds to plant at the Palace as I walked back from CVS. This AM, while biking to the garden, I stopped to marvel at how the ivy had covered the walls of the Boston Apts and watched a wedding party assemble at the charming Pilgrim's Chapel.

As we speed by in our insulated cabins, stereo blaring, AC keeping all the humidity at bay, we seldom really get to appreciate and rail against the details of our city. I hope, as I go forth with my sort of self imposed car-less life, I can also make a bit of a difference. Pick up litter, not pollute the air, lose weight, meet people ... hopefully friendly.

Winter will be a challenge, but you know, we managed to live for a long time with out getting into motorized vehicles and scooting around. If this winter it is too bad to go out, I won't. Have to learn to stock up (something I am not good at.. but learning) but the anxiety of having to get out and about will subside.

Motorless life has its advantages and can be less stressful. But like everything, there is compromise and another side to the story. You trade the freedom to go about at will for the scheduled and slower world of mass transit, or have to wait for better weather to venture forth. But if nothing else, I am resourceful, I have friends, and if they give me a ride, I offer something in return; Bruce took me on a long errand so he got his wine paid for at 303 that night.

I know I am crazy, been told that by several professionals and non-professionals alike, but this has kind of been sprung upon me and I am making the best of it.

Besides, I'll have stories to tell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don, you are a gifted and talented writer! Thanks for sharing those gifts with me and others. I treasure our friendship more with each encounter we have and vodka tonics we share.