Off The Press
June 16, 2009
By Kathleen R. Merrill
Get to know neighbors, community on a walk
People just don’t connect anymore like they used to. Sure, they might be plugged into all kinds of things — Facebook, MySpace, etc. But in my opinion, they don’t meet face to face and talk or just hang out. That needs to change.
I walk to work whenever possible. It gives my car a break, my mind a chance to clear before and after the workday and me the chance to see and hear much more that I would miss otherwise.
Take the man I met recently who was walking an elderly German shepherd. (And those of you who know me know I’m partial to that breed of animal.) Because he had fallen on hard times, the dog had been living with his mother for a year and a half. He’s glad to have her back and she seems equally thrilled to be with him.
I stop and chat with him and pet her whenever I see them now. My blood pressure lowers every time.Another neighbor walks to the senior center most days for various activities. One recent day when I had to have my car for the day, I offered him a ride. He turned me down, saying the walk was one of the best parts of his day. He turned 90 years old recently. Maybe walking makes you live longer.
Sometimes, I cut through the park behind City Hall. (The grass is nicer under feet than concrete, especially after a long day at the office.) Watching children play and squeal with laughter can sure lighten your load for a bit. So, too, can watching the teens playing baseball in the late afternoons/early evenings. Makes me remember when I was a teen playing ball. Ah, those carefree summer days.
Then, there was the elderly man I talked to about his dog who passed away last year. It was obvious he was lonely, so I took the time to try to make him less so. Sure, I was a bit late to work that morning, but I’d like to think my boss would be understanding if she knew the “community service” I performed that morning in easing some of his sadness and sharing some of his fond memories with him.
I’ve also spent time looking at the buildings of downtown and reading the historical markers I pass, which have taught me some things about this community that I didn’t know.
I really enjoy music, and these walks are also giving me time to listen closely when I’m not chatting with passersby. I recently got the coolest pair of headphones you have ever seen or heard. The best thing about them, aside from the amazingly clear sound, even when turned up really loud, is that you design them yourself.
Go to http://ifrogz.com/earpollution/ and pick from various styles and dozens of colors and prints. Not only are mine as flashy as can be, but they have leopard-printed fur lining. Talk about comfort. I may never drive to work again!
Reach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392-6434, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.