Colder Days

I've a reputation for stubbornly biking through any weather conditions, and the thought of having to rely on any other method of transportation often leaves me antsy and impatient; regardless, I've allowed myself to admit occasional defeat to the wind chill and the rapidly deteriorating condition of my snowpants, which were not designed with the friction of a bicycle seat in mind. I can hardly bear to decide to walk, knowing that I'm operating on an entirely different order of magnitude for transit times, but as soon as my boots hit the ground, the antsy thoughts are blown away.

There's a distinct place that my brain can afford to enter on a long walk, freed from the level of alertness required of any faster mode of transportation. When I know I have an hour during which I am not expected to do anything but keep putting one foot in front of another, my thoughts stretch out in a continuous line tracing from the door I've exited to the door I'm entering.

I wear an earphone in one ear when I walk, not wanting to silence the environmental noises while still trying to catch up on podcasts and old radio shows. The combination of flannel, nylon, wool, down, and the dry winter air forks a constant stream of static up the wire, popping against my eardrum and numbing my earlobes. It's painful and distracting, but I find no reason to avoid it.

Drivers stare at me for walking outside in this weather, and I wonder what motivates them to dig into their frozen cars just to drive a mile to the grocery store for a gallon of milk and half a dozen frozen pizzas. They can't be much warmer inside their cars than I am swaddled in winter clothes; my blood generates heat just as their internal combustion engines burn. I conclude that I'm just lucky to have learned to live without the burden of believing I need to drive everywhere, even though people seem bewildered that I don't accept their pity for my lack of a car.

29 January 2014 11:28

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