I drive past them often.
They troop up and down sidewalks. They carry bags or backpacks or books or nothing. They dress in hats and coats and scarves by which I define them — “the one in the red jacket” or “the one wearing a green striped hat.”
They are walkers. Some I know by name, others only by route or cursory glance. They stick to patterns I cannot distinguish but patterns nonetheless.
I stick to patterns too. I am a driver. A cozy shell of toyota camry ferries me from place to place. Open the door, turn the key, buckle the belt and I’m off. It’s quick, systematic and, aside from the occasional “hello darling” I throw at the camry when it beeps to unlock, completely impersonal.
Walking is different. It is trusting that your two legs will carry you where you want to go. It is self reliance and self confidence and sometimes misery because the wind is blowing or the rain is pouring but mostly it is freedom.
It is traipsing the streets with a mind that is not afraid to wander.
My mind, safely packaged in a metal box, travels pointedly from place to place to place. It does not wander. It does not get lost.
I envy the walkers.