A Day In The Life (Stimulating the Local Economy)

by Ouida on March 5, 2010


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It is my anniversary this weekend. Planning a weekend getaway. I wanted to have something decent for us to drive so I took my car into the shop to be detailed. Years of transporting dogs and the car is only fit for transporting me, but I wouldn’t have a friend or anyone with an allergy near the car.

I looked at my work schedule, seemed today ought to be the day to take my car in and I am way behind in my blog posts. I don’t have to be at the hospital today so I decided to wake up, walk my dogs, fix breakfast, load up my lap top, god I cannot wait for the iPad, take in the pile of clothes to GoodWill that I have been putting off taking in and head to the detailer. I told the owner of the shop that I was going to walk to a local coffee shop and work there while they worked on my car. He asked me if I was sure and I said yes. He thought it odd that I was willing to walk. Heck, I needed to walk, I haven’t been to the gym in a few days. Also I spend very little time in the town I have called home for the last 15 years. I go to work, come home, go to work, come home, take call, go in come home. All of that is punctuated with the occasional need to go grocery shopping and buy gas. When I am off, I get away to another town, to another state. Walking through town, I get to check out the stucco jobs on the buildings I pass. Which jobs look good, which jobs look bad. I hope that people have left signs on their work so I know whom to call. Before I have gone half a mile, the first person pulls over and asks me if I need a ride…I am walking after all. I politely decline and tell her no, that I want to walk. She drives off. A gentleman pulls over and asks me where I am headed. I’m almost there is my reply. About 20 feet ahead of him another car has pulled over, passenger side window down, waiting for me to pass, he (or she I didn’t even look) pulls off when I don’t stop. I take these attempts to offer me assistance for what they are, acts of kindness in a town where the auto repair shops out number the number of churches. People are always walking, usually when their transportation has failed them. That someone, laden with bags, might choose to walk stands out as odd. I had to reflect, though, during the remainder of my walk. That we have become a nation of heavy people, addicted to our cars where walking is simply odd. Unless of course you live in a retirement community, were people can often be seen walking, but why do we have to be retired before we walk? We have become a nation of non-movers, non-walkers, non-shakers. Over the last decade or so, I’ve watched my patients grow steadily heavier and our rate of diabetes, cancer and heart disease shoot through the roof. The few times I have been out of the country, I can always tell I am back home, not by pictures of our flag or the President hanging on the wall, but by the weight of the people in the port of entry. Now I am not naive enough to believe we can walk our way to fitness without changing what or how we eat, but it is a start. It takes no money, just a comfortable pair of shoes and a willingness to do it. Now I plan to sit in a coffee shop for the rest of the afternoon sipping coffee and eating lunch until the shop calls me to tell me my car is ready, then I’ll pack up my bags and head back using my own two feet to take me. I’ll probably be offered a ride or two and I’ll politely decline. I will have spent a day IN my home town without the pressure to leave, spending money here in our local economy. And I will have also done something for free to make myself incrementally healthier.

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