Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Learning to Walk Again

If a livable city includes walk-ability, I decided the first steps of my challenge to live local would be to accomplish an errand by walking. We have a library just a few blocks away, a treat for a bookworm in Uber-Suburbia. After the shock of the previous day’s fill-up, I figured this would be a good outing to launch my efforts.

It’s not like I didn’t know this hometown library existed. I’d signed up for a card when we moved to the neighborhood 15 years ago. But back then the library was part of the high school, very few hours of service and only a small inventory. I’d taken my reading cravings elsewhere. When the city built a new library, I continued to think of it as second rate. Was that still true? Could I change a 15 year habit? Would my card still be active?

My husband had been using this library recently, so I headed out at 11am, greased up with sunscreen, with a book to return and a water bottle in my sack.

Fifteen minutes up, way up hill I trudged because our city is built on a large incline. Just me and the cars to share the scenery of our foothills and planned open space.

Once there, I caught my breath (2 years of cardio kickboxing three times a week obviously wasn’t conditioning enough) bought 3 books from the daily book sale (giving back to the community on Day 1) checked out a book and movie (the card still worked) and ordered up 2 books from another Ventura County library (the first time my borrowing had ventured beyond the LA County system). Heading back at noon in 80° heat, 40% humidity, it was downhill, fortunately.

We are close to Oxnard, home of the strawberry and a farmer has parked an SUV filled with fruit on a side street every season for the past 3 or 4 years. I buy strawberries several afternoons a week, doing what I can to help local farmers. This year they added cherries. I bought some and walked home with care, making sure not to tip the box. A real errand, 3 in fact: a movie, some books for the week and cherries, food for the family. All accomplished by walking.

Then the following week ushered in summer with a bang - over 110° weather. While I definitely will patronize the library again, it will have to be during a string of errands via my Honda. Being neither a mad dog nor an Englishman, I will have to think of different ways to incorporate walking into my life during our long California summer.


megan said...

Bobbi - I grew up in Agoura Hills and I'm loving reading about the local details. I lived off of TO behind Vons and I was too embarrassed to walk to AHS - I couldn't have anyone see me doing that!! As an NYC-dweller now, the thought is mortifying! I am going to enjoy reading about your changes.

I'll also share your blog with my mom, about 10 years ahead of you on two teenage girls in suburbia. (My folks left the area the minute we graduated!) I'm sure she will enjoy the bits about the library - she was at both Oak Park (back when it was attached to the school) and at Agoura.

Good luck!
Megan from Fix

Bobbi said...

Megan: thanks for the comment and glad you're enjoying the local tidbits. I had one foot out the door when the gas crunch hit. Who knows if we'll ever be able to sell unless everyone turns inward quickly, our lovely bit of paradise being way the heck out there. My kingdom for a bus!