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Small Wonders: Take a walk and witness the world

October 12, 2012|By Patrick Caneday

People have a lot of reasons for hating me.

My political, religious and social views. My false air of superiority masking deep insecurities. My breath. A hairline intent on disobeying the toll of time.

But, perhaps utmost is this: I have a one-song commute.

From my driveway to a noncompact parking place at my office, I average one song. And if I hit the lights just right, I don't even finish that.

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Hate me if you must. My co-workers do. But a one-song commute isn't always a good thing.

Sure, I save gas and don't spend endless hours in gridlock. But I also can't call in late because “traffic is horrible today.” And there's little time to decompress after a hard day at the office with such a short drive home.

I do get to spend more time with the family, but I do them little good if my mind is still back at the office fretting over cell M-132 of that spreadsheet I was dutifully populating 10 minutes ago.

So whenever possible, I walk to work. Beyond taking my commute to a manageable 25 minutes, there are other benefits.

Besides finally utilizing iPod playlists and podcasts or Pandora stations I've created but don't have time to listen to, walking to and from work has shown me many things I either don't see or take for granted.

Now that summer seems to have given up her stranglehold, there are leaves on the ground. The only sign of seasonal change in Southern California.

You know what else you see a lot of on the ground? Spent gum. Little black circles eternally sealed to the sidewalk with a molecular bond NASA can't figure out. Everywhere. It's disgusting and amazing at the same time.

You have to watch out for sprinklers. For every yard and building watering its lawn, there's at least one sprinkler head misdirected across the sidewalk and into the street. As if concrete needed any more help to grow.

Have you heard the story of the columns shaped like the Seven Dwarfs at the corporate building on the Walt Disney Studios lot? Easily viewable from Alameda Avenue — Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy, hold the roof up. Legend has it Walt spent everything he had on the 1937 release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” his first feature-length animated movie. If it bombed, so would Disney. Those Dwarfs literally held the roof up.

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