Monday, April 9, 2012

FTT Off-Topic: Walking Where The Others Don't Walk

As always with FTT O-T, it's a big bad Internet and you should go look at it if you need everything to be about sports. You can also, you know, scroll. But today with your indulgence, you get a soundtrack. Lucky you!

I'm on vacation this week in suburban San Diego visiting the Shooter Brother, and in my effort to keep the inevitable vacation weight gain from eating well off, I took a 3-mile hike yesterday around the area. It's one of those things I get to do, now that I'm in my 40s and want to remain my current shape. Anyway, not the point.

San Diego is, of course, one of the world's most desired places to live, and there's lots to recommend it; weather, views, lack of bugs and humidity. It also might be the single biggest place for overblown real estate, at least this side of Dubai. Which makes for a rather interesting walk.

First off, no one does it. The roads around here have no sidewalks, of course, because everyone drives everywhere. The closest you will see to sustainable transportation is a few bikes, loathed by the large vehicles that zoom around them. There are hybrids, of course: $4+ gasoline will take a bite out of anyone. But they seem like affectations, rather than actual transportation.

Next are the signs. Everywhere is a Neighborhood Watch, or Private Property, or Beware Of Dog or Electrified Fence or Residents Only or etc., etc. The least walkable neighborhoods you can imagine, and yet plenty of rusted over, neglected and unnecessary signs making sure that some solicitor or ne'er-do-well is told his proper place. It would be funny if it weren't, well, diagnosable.

Your next object of amusement are the RVs. Rather than build an addition to the homes that are already preposterously large in the first place, people park de facto buses on their property and beach them. You'd think that this wouldn't do much for the eye or property value, and you'd be right; it's like hoarding relatives from flyover land came to squat on the property. But there they are, nonetheless, a monument to more.

Finally, there's the critters. This place is alive with creatures that aren't paying the rent: lizards and hawks and squirrels, rabbits and more, more, more. Walk along the roads, and you can hear a constant scurrying in the underbrush, as beings that aren't used to being disturbed by the slow quiet approach of a walking person clear out with velocity. It's like walking around in a Jiffy-Pop griddle, and it's a fairly good thing, of course; it's one of the reasons why the place is more or less bug-free. But it is, well, interesting.

Oh, and one last thing about my little hike: I did it in daylight, of course, dressed in a collared shirt and clean office manager khakis, while being clean-shaven and, well, painfully white.

I felt reasonably safe.

But not as safe as I would, in say, a working-class neighborhood in New York City...

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