I like taking walks. Walks are good for thinking, and they keep thinking from turning into brooding. In the winter, it's important to leave by 4:00 if you want to get a good walk in before sundown; walking at night is perfectly fine, but that's not what we're talking about today.

One of the best things about walking is that when you're walking, no one expects you to be doing anything else. Build, write, call, finish, plan, execute, redline, report -- sorry, I can't, I'm walking.

I love smiling strangers. They're happy to see you, and they never want anything but that you should keep on walking. That's fine with me; the last thing I need is another acquaintance. There are a lot of young children in my neighborhood, and they never seem sure whether they should say hi back or not, but they smile; there are also a lot of old people, and they're always pleased to be greeted. It's the people between 15 and 60 who seem most intent on minding their own business, but I've never had anyone object to a friendly hello, as long as everyone keeps on walking.

Some of the houses are bigger than mine, and I love seeing the countless variations. Every house in the neighborhood was originally built on one of three floorplans: three bedrooms, two baths, one kitchen, one livingroom. But that was 50 years ago, and most of the buildings have mutated over time. Some have sprouted second and third stories, some have converted garages, some have converted driveways. Occasionally someone tears a house completely down (except for one wall) and starts over; what's with those people? Don't they realize there's people in China living in mud huts who'd love a perfectly good house?

Then, eventually, you run into a major street and have to turn back home. That's ok, the sun's going down anyway.



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