"Girls, Let's Go for a Stroll!"

Before I get to the subject of this post, I'll clear up one burning question that's been in your minds since I last wrote: What, if anything, became of my Netflix suggestion?  I'm happy to say, Corner readers, that shortly after my post went live, I received the following text message: "Happy-Go-Lucky is in my queue."  Now, I've yet to ascertain if the film was already selected by my nearest and dearest of her own accord or if the selection was added because of my, well, suggestion. For now, I'd like to think that the Corner also gives me power, even if I don't have access to determining the queue.

The subject of this entry will be familiar to those of you who (a) went to college with me and (b) were on the tennis team.  For everyone else: that phrase was always uttered at the beginning of practice by our coach, Paula, who is perhaps the most energetic, positive woman I have ever met in my life.  She is also the only tennis coach I've ever had who, literally, tied our doubles teams together in practice one afternoon.  True story, as my teammate Kira would say: Our three doubles teams failed to catch on to Paula's insistence that doubles teams should move around the court together, and after one particularly frustrating match during the van ride back to school, she said at our next practice we were going to be tied together.  I don't think any of us really believed her, but sure enough, our next practice came, and so did Paula--with bungee cords out of the trunk of her car. I should also point out that unless a you consider a "stroll" akin to walking at the speed of light, with some jogging, wind sprints, running lines of a tennis court, all while having a medicine ball thrown at you (except on the wind sprints), you probably don't want to take a stroll with Paula.

Now that I'm about to complete my sixth year of graduate school, I can say that the rather sedentary life of reading books, grading papers, and writing my dissertation has left me, well, shall I say, a little worse for wear if Paula were to ever appear and insist upon going on a stroll.  And that got me thinking: how on earth have I gotten so incredibly lazy, especially when it comes to getting around?!

That I thought about all of this in my car is beside the point.  I do a fair amount of thinking when I'm driving, and when I really just want to get away and think, my inclination (unless gas prices are exceptionally out of control) is, I admit, to get in my car and go for a ride. That those car rides usually take me in the direction of Philadelphia and towards some sort of food item, also beside the point, but also very much why I should go on a stroll with Paula.

I was in a bookstore earlier this week to grade some papers, and I came across the magazine Good. The latest issue is a special issue on transportation, and they had a brief article talking about the results of the Walkability study of major U.S. cities, and I was excited to see that my beloved is #5. And I can see why: Philly is, I think, an incredibly easy city to walk around.  You can walk from river to river in a half hour if you're walking (not strolling; strolling would get you there in 15, if traffic lights were also in your favor).  While I may drive to get to Philly, when I get there, I walk. And walk. And walk. (Not "stroll.")  And I love it: walking through the city gives me a chance to feel the city--if you're stuck in a car you miss the sounds of the buskers in the subway or on the sidewalks, you miss the sometimes very funny bits of conversation you catch in passing, you miss the cast of characters that make the city, the city. And that's not just the case for Philly--it's for any city or neighborhood, if you'll take the time to walk around and take it all in.

So, Corner readers, what do you like best about walking (or biking) around your neighborhood?  When you travel, do you take the time to walk about and take in your new surroundings?

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