field research on alternative transportation

I’ve started walking to work. I’m trying to save money on gas and get back in shape from sitting around all winter. It’s three-and-a-half miles to my office so I only walk on nice days. After two weeks of walking to work three times a week, I’ve logged 42 miles, lost a couple pounds, and saved about ten bucks in gas. 

And I’ve discovered a few things. Walking is good exercise. I sleep better, actually eat less, and instinctively make better use of my time during the day because I have two hours less of it to play with. I’ve also discovered that drivers here, in Rochester, NY, are not pedestrian-oriented, especially during commuting hours; you need predator-detecting rabbit vision or you could get killed. 

Walking takes time, admittedly; more than just on foot. It’s like going on a mini-trip; I have to fold and pack office wear in a backpack. And I can’t run errands during the day if I don’t have my truck.  When hoofing it, one can be perceived as less than middle class. There’s a panhandler who has asked me for money regularly over the past couple years as I leave a particular supermarket and walk to my truck in the parking lot. Yesterday he again was asking people for money. He studied me as I approached wearing my skating cap and backpack. I came alongside him and for the first time did not hear his trademark, “Hey buddy, got a quarter?” 

Perhaps my most significant discovery is that in spite of the cost of fuel, and the good sense it makes environmentally to walk, I’ve encountered almost no one else walking – in seventy minutes each way, through three zip codes.

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3 Comments on “field research on alternative transportation”

  1. Frank Paolo Says:

    Rich, how do you expect to get a body like mine
    if you exercise. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said
    whenever he got the urge to exercise, he lied
    down until it passed? Anyway, I was planning
    to start walking soon. You’ve inspired me about
    15%. I’ll let you know.

    paolo.

  2. Joseph Belle-Isle Says:

    The panhandler is what I have to percieve as an unambitious amateur. And NO- people do not make lots of money standing on a corner with a will work for food sign. Panhandling is an art form that requires entertainment. People want something for their quarter. A good laugh can get you a dollar. I’ve made a living at it in San Francisco and in New Orleans and I KNOW what I’m talkin’ bout Willis. “SPARE CHANGE FOR THE DE-RANGED?” Get’s you breakfast lunch and dinner in San Fran. 3/4 of the people say, “I’m deranged too!!” and giggle and give ypou money. The universal line is, “Hey buddy! lend me a quarter so I can get my Rolls Royce out of hock.” ALL soul brothers say, “If you got a Rolls you don’t need MY quarter!” 1/4 of the whites laugh and fork up some change. Blind folks on your corner get ALL the money so you have to offer to help them and lead them up an alley somewhere.

  3. Joseph Belle-Isle Says:

    And you don’t see anybody else walking because it’s 20 degrees outside you dumbass.


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