Thursday, June 9, 2016

Explaining The Name

I was recently working on a play with several people I had never met before, and I enjoyed getting to know a fellow named Tony. After a couple of weeks of working together, Tony told me that the first time he saw me at rehearsal he thought he knew me from somewhere, but he couldn't figure out why. I had no idea.

"Well, last night," he says, "my wife saw you and knew right away who you were." And I almost said it with him, "You're That Guy Who Walks."

Strangers have stopped me in the grocery store and exclaimed that I was That Guy Who Walks. This must be what it feels like to be a celebrity. "Why, yes," I say with a smile, "Yes, I do." And then they like to tell me where they saw me walking. "Yes, yes, that's true. I do walk there."

People I know tell me that their friends only figure out who I am when they tell them I'm That Guy Who Walks. Sometimes they add the word "everywhere" or the phrase "all the time," but that's hyperbole. I mostly walk to and from work, and I walk the dog to the park. According to my iPhone, that's between six and seven miles a day. And not when it's raining.

This phenomenon, is it a small town thing? A southern Indiana thing? Where the car culture is alive and well? (And trucks. Got to include trucks.) I've been to New York and people there walk all the time. Here, people drive to a location four blocks away, search all over for a place to park, and I've arrived on foot ten minutes before them. I'm not a health nut, just practical.

I used to get in a lot of trouble when I was in elementary school for being tardy. Starting in kindergarten, I walked about a half mile each way twice a day (we came home for lunch). I was a straggler, a daydreamer, someone who lost track of time in favor of interesting cracks in the sidewalk or the stories playing in my head. My report card came home every six weeks with a dozen tardies. I liked school, I just lost track of time on the walk.

Today I walk at a brisk pace and find it difficult to walk with others who all seem to go so slowly. I listen to podcasts so you have to get my attention if you want to wave or talk. I'm happy to do either, though. We can talk in this forum now, too (assuming you're being friendly and all.)

Unlike my walking, I have no idea where I'm going with this blog, but if you want to join me, you're more than welcome. I'll tell you what comes up on my walks and what I've been thinking about. Or daydreaming about. I still do that.

My name is Eric and I'm That Guy Who Walks.

14 comments:

  1. Good for you, TGWW. I remember walking to and from school in WL way back in the day, too.

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    1. I walked farther than both ya'll put together. :-)

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    2. No doubt. It was only a few blocks to Morton School from our house, and maybe about 5 or 6 blocks to either the junior high or the high school.

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    3. Thanks, Daniel. It was a chore for mini me back in the days of yesteryear. It's a stress reliever today. No doubt you did walk farther, Greg, and probably without my daydreaming distractions. Ha!

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  2. Good for you, if you ain't moving yer dying. ~ Greg S

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  3. The car culture is alive and well in a lot of places. The need to drive to the store that is a quarter of a mile away. You can devote an entire blog post to why parents drive their children to school when they live four or five blocks away. There is a perception of being so busy that we don't have the time to walk. Everyone needs their own car - the shared family car seems to be more and more rare. In part, suburbia is a culprit - developers don't want to spend the additional cost to add sidewalks, and walking in the road is not always safe. But perhaps it is mostly that driving is a privilege people want to display, and feel that walking is something you only do if you "have to." I remember going home for the weekend with a friend from a very small Minnesota town - everyone drove everywhere, leaving their keys in the ignition, regularly trading off cars - and nothing was more than a mile apart. When I asked why we didn't just walk, the answer was, "Becuase we can drive."

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    1. Well said, thinkingwoman. Much of my walking is without sidewalks and I have had to jump aside from inattentive drivers. Who wants to send their children walking to school under such circumstances? We live within a block of an elementary school and not one of the the three main roads leading to the school has a sidewalk.

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  4. I love this, and even though I know you as more than "That Guy Who Walks" I cant wait to follow your blog and see where this journey will take you.

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  5. Thanks, Jessica. Stay tuned....

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  6. Um, I hope you don't remember, but I almost ran over you one morning by aforementioned elementary school. Thankfully your dog stopped you. I'm glad I got to meet you backstage and not in a meeting with lawyers!

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  7. I don't remember that, but you were probably one of many. I'm also glad we met working on the show. I'll say I hope we see each other again soon, rather than hoping we run into one another!

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