4.09.2008

Walking in a Autocentric World

God gave me two working legs, and whenever I can, I try to use them.
This puts me at odds at times in an increasingly autocentric world.
Two years ago, when our family car pooped out, I rode the regional
rail into the burbs, walking three-quarters of a mile from the station
to the auto dealer, and getting strange looks from cars whizzing by.
People speak in hushed tones when Amy and I go for a walk around my
parents' neighborhood in suburban San Jose: are they poor, deranged,
and/or dangerous?

Where our kids go to day care is four blocks from my office, so I walk
them there and then walk to work, reversing my commute on the way
home. Our day care does not allow strollers to be stored on site, so
I walk an empty stroller four blocks between there and my office.
Admittedly, it is a strange site: a man in a suit pushing an empty
stroller down a busy street. (What percentage of working parents do
you think walk their kids to day care and then walk their stroller to
work: 1 out of 1000? 1 out of 10,000?)

Still, I'm a little tired of the razzing. In addition to quizzical
looks, I've gotten smirks, bad jokes, and mocking. One clever young
lad managed to call me a girl and the n-word all in one
compactly-worded insult.

I take it all in stride (literally!). Still, it saddens me that
walking around like I do should seem such a source of teasing. We've
been walking for a long time and driving cars for just a sliver of
that time, yet we've made ourselves quite an autocentric world.

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