Today, the day was clear and bright, if chilly, and I resolved (again) to walk home. The difference between this and all previous days is that this time, I actually did.
It was around 35 degrees out, but there wasn't much wind, and that temperature turned out to be just fine, not too cold at all. Lut didn't like the thought of me walking along the main, and rather heavily trafficked, road between our house and my job, so he scouted out a route that involved walking a few blocks along the highway (remember, this is a rural highway with traffic lights and shopping centers, not an interstate) then the rest of the way on residential side streets.
Left to my own devices, I would probably do something like walking the residential side streets on the far side of the main road, then dash across it at some random point (there are no crosswalks on the most direct route between my job and home) , then walk along the main street for a block until I got to the first side street that intersected with it. Bear in mind that I've been dashing across the highway most workdays for the last two years, so the prospect didn't worry me all that much. I'd walk along the main road, too, but the side streets are equally convenient and more pleasant.
When it comes to walking, I am utterly fearless. I've walked around New York City at night. When I was a kid, I used to walk four or five miles along a major road to the local mall, and then home again. (Though more often, I'd call my mother for a ride home). The mile trip from my house to the nearest library branch was even more regular. As an adult, I've tended to pick homes that were closer to bus lines and my probable destinations, but I've still done a lot of walking. When I lived in Albany and worked third shift at an answering service, it wasn't uncommon for me to walk, or rollerblade, from home to work, through much worse neighborhoods than the one I'm in now. That trip was probably a mile or so, too. Hey, who needs a car? I've got feet!
But Lut is paranoid about me getting hit by a car or breaking my ankle in a ditch or something, so I took pity on him and took the back route he'd scouted. This was a little less direct than some of the other ways, but it didn't take me much out of my way. It did have one unexpected downside: it took me right past a house owned by an unleashed and overly territorial dog. Big brown mongrel, looked vaguely Rottweiler-ish. I like dogs and they seldom worry me. This one wasn't especially scary -- he didn't, for example, growl or snap. But he did bark repeatedly from the porch, and then, as I came nearer (walking on the far side of the street) he ran out at me, still barking. He wasn't doing the "Hi! I love people! Can I be your friend?" dog routine, nor the "Growl-crouch-I'm gonna rip your face off" one; more like "My territory! Get out! Out out out!" I took a little extra time to stare him down at a few points, because I didn't feel entirely confident that he wasn't going to switch to attack mode if I kept my back to him. He's probably harmless; almost all dogs are, and of those that aren't, very few survive their first attack on a human. (I don't mean the particular human attacked will kill them; I mean animal control often winds up doing so. Whether the attack was provoked or not. Stinks to be a dog. :( ) Still, it made the walk a bit slower and less pleasant than it would've otherwise been.
But, as it turns out, the walk still didn't take long. I consider myself a fairly pokey walker and wouldn't have been surprised if it took me half an hour to get home. But it was only nineteen minutes, and not in the least strenuous or tiring.
In fact, the walk from my old apartment to the bus stop took me about thirteen minutes. Given that I was usually waiting at least a couple of minutes for the bus to arrive, that means my total time-spent-outside-in-the-cold has hardly changed between my old location and this one, even if I walk every day. And I'd undoubtedly still be spending less total time on the commute.
This is a good thing, because I'm looking at walking every day as my new means of transportation. Lut's job just switched his hours from his former 8:00AM - 4:30PM shift, which works reasonably well with my hours, to a 12:30PM to 9:00PM shift, which doesn't work remotely well with mine.
I know; I said I'd buy a scooter. I could buy a scooter. But my research so far has inclined me to want a fairly expensive scooter rather than a cheap one. Even the cheaper models that still make it up 45 mph or so have distinct downsides over the pricier ones. (For example, scooters run on a mixture of oil and gasoline, and on the cheaper models you need to mix the two fuels yourself, which sounds annoying.)
And right about now, I'm starting to run out of available cash. I've got a bonus coming in January that's likely to be substantial, but I don't want to spend it before it's in my hands and I know how much it is. I could get low or zero interest financing from somewhere, I'm sure. But even so ... I just don't like being in debt.
So I'm walking. Walking is cheap. And, hey, it's probably good for me. Exercise and all that. Right.
It was a nice walk, actually.