by Jay Hiller, August 4, 2023
At noon yesterday in Austin it was over a hundred degrees and I had a lunch appointment at a restaurant half a mile from my office, a distance I would walk without thinking twice if the weather were better. I decided to walk, mostly because I had parked my car so far away that by the time I got to it I would be halfway to the restaurant anyway. I probably looked pretty funny in my hat and big sunglasses, walking in the heat. I didn’t care. It was a much better experience than driving. For one thing, I wasn’t worried about somebody doing something stupid and hitting my car, a real possibility anytime you drive on Austin’s overcrowded streets. The bikers were out and one of them popped a wheelie right in front of me. It was energizing to be moving after being stuck in my office for 3 hours going through databases. And I didn’t feel hot.
The experience had me thinking about how where I live is basically a nice suburban island that’s hard to get off without a car. There’s no reason for it to be that way if the city would build bike paths and sidewalks protected from traffic. I’ve also been thinking about how there will be a day when I won’t be physically able to walk half a mile, as hard as that is for me to imagine right now. Walk.