Week Forty-Three: Walk

874213503-monotonous-order-concept-suburb-las-vegasI got attacked by a bee today on my walk, but aside from that there was no incident and no dogs out walking to distract me. As I was walking I had a mini allergy attack. Sneezing. Saying “Bless You”!  Is that also a type of connection? Is it a deep human hope these ingrained salutations?

On my walk, I usually go one of two ways. I can either go down the official walking path that is an amenity of the housing tract or I can walk around the block which means walking along a wall and not seeing anything, really.  I think it is funny that these subdivisions create these walking paths that are hyped as a nice thing for homeowners to enjoy, but are required by law and are just dressed up flood channels. It is such a hoax, this idea that a subdivision will make something nice for you, but in reality, they are just trying not to flood you in a potential natural disaster.

This walk is nice because there is the chance of seeing a lizard or a small mouse or chipmunk or maybe even every once and a while a rabbit.  There are probably scorpions, but you don’t see them when you are walking.  You can look a bit into the neighbor’s yards on this walk which may be another reason I like it. You can see the backyards facing the path and often people are walking their dogs on the path or teaching their kids to ride a bike. Not far along the path is a “park” which I put in quotes because it is really just a slightly larger green area where they run sprinklers and have a playground.  This is not my idea of a public park, one that has nice buildings and benches and walking paths and places to get a little lost in. Parks should have bocce courts and little old ladies complaining about the weather and grass and lounging areas and also some view that situates you in the city and makes you appreciate the park even more.  No, this is a little placeholder of a park that is supposed to trick your brain into thinking you are happy to be outside and recreating. But it is an evil kind of fake park and not much fun.

After you cross the road which has minimal traffic on it, you go down and wind around a ways until you hit a second park.  This is another plastic playground, more trees, some fake toys and learning activities made in hard plastic that kids can play tic tac toe with or do numbers and letters. This park has a horseshoe sandpit and some benches. It has signs that sternly advise you to pick up after your dog and that remind you that the park is only for people who are residents, those paid up on HOA dues in the fancy neighborhood. I guess I am an intruder. It is not a friendly kind of park. Though the safety of children is paramount. Especially for suburban moms. The children!

Then after going a bit further the path winds through more houses and emerges at the biggest of the parks in the area. This one has some open lawn, tennis courts, bathrooms, parking, and a basketball court. It is big enough that I have to turn and then walk around it. They have helpful paint on the sidewalk that tells me that one circuit or loop around the park is a half mile. This is a very fitness-oriented park and people are doing sporty things in it.  There are also people playing with their dogs and playing with their kids, slacklining with friends, even barbequing.  There are some people walking and others running. There are some people just sitting and it is big enough for all of these people. You can see the grocery store and the pharmacy and some strip malls at the edge of the park as well as the main busy road.  The park is next to an elementary school and then as you round the corner, you are back at the walking path. The path leads to the park, but has nothing more to offer you after you’ve circumnavigated it.

Then we just have to walk back and retrace our steps.  There are not many notable things to see on the walk. Not much shade or vegetation, though there is a glittery, glass fragment-filled patch of raw desert that has not been built upon yet. It is sandwiched between two housing developments. I like this part. It seems a bit subversive. That is my main walking route. Perhaps later I should tell you about the other? No, it is less interesting than this. I guarantee it will bore you and me both.

This piece is part of the #52essays2017 challenge where I will share one essay a week in 2017. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out writer Vanessa Martir’s website and post about it.


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