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Ease on down the road – the reasoning behind walking to work, a short, short story by Kristen Volt

August 31, 2009


It has been mentioned before that I walk to work, the promised elaboration follows.  The following was written almost a year ago right after I sold my car and started walking to work.  I had assumed the experiment would last a few months at most, I had assumed my home would sell quickly.  I was wrong.  It’s not bad though, people just think I am weird.  I suppose now that I am a vegan as well it sort of explains away the weirdness for others.  I imagine they now think I have made these lifestyle changes for the environment or some other noble cause.  Right.

I can do better though.  I can walk every day and not get lazy and take the bus or accept a ride from a co-worker.  I don’t want to talk to anyone about work before I get to work anyway, so the last option is really pretty easy to turn down.  The bus, however, is so easy.  I will just think of germs and with that I give to you a glimpse into the ‘dome (the nickname for home) and the highly abridged version behind my walk to work.  Enjoy.

My mother, Sue would often wake me up by pulling all of the covers off the bed and opening the wooden shutters with as much “clack” as possible….I would bury my head under the pillow and attempt to shut out the world.  No one ignores Sue, so her frustration would manifest itself through a loudly voiced pronouncement…her declaration of “A New Regime.”

There were various permutations to her speech, but the gist of it was there would be a complete change and her children would no longer force her into the servitude of waking them up, cooking them breakfast and driving them to school, of cleaning and ironing their clothing and making life nice for them.  No, the New Regime would have Sue at the helm, dictating orders, her charges mopping floors and up at 4am, out the door on their own steam and out of her hair.

Needless to say, this was all talk.  Sue’s children never cleaned and she certainly would not allow her children to take the school bus because it was unsafe. The idea of them just eating a granola bar in the morning would rack her with guilt over not providing them with sustenance for the school day and if quickly learned that letting us wake up of our own accord only made her late.  She needed to control her and our situations and therefore her New Regimes never amounted to much, but back then I was a child.  When I grew up I had to take on these tasks myself and only now have I gotten the hang of them, mostly.

I do little things to cheat, of course.  I do not iron every day.  I sometimes pull stuff out of the dryer and hang it up immediately and only iron the front if I am wearing a jacket…I will forget to cook breakfast and have a granola bar. I will sleep late and not go to the gym.  I will drive somewhere when it’s a 5 minute walk.  I have fallen into a pattern of laziness, one worthy of a Sue inspired New Regime.

I, however, must place upon myself the most severe of restrictions so as not to backslide. For example, I need to lose weight.  I would say 50 pounds would make me model thin, but 30 is as much as I could do – at any rate I need to be forced into exercise at times – in the past this would be done through hiring a trainer, but that kind of tapers off and as soon as you’re ready to re-up your contract you’re telling yourself you can do this alone and you know exactly how to do all of the exercises, you’ll just go to the gym solo…this never works out.  I live two miles from work – an easy walk, a bit hilly though.  I could walk to work.

This is something I have thought about for 2 years now and done once.  How can I force myself to do this?  I sold my car.

In addition to the staggering price of gas, the upkeep of an aging car, the insurance, and the impending move, I needed a safety measure – something to force upon me a certain amount of daily exercise and I found it through the sale of my transportation.

Now I will be walking at least 4 miles 5 days a week – plus some additional daily just to get around.

Today was my first walk to work day.  I woke up at 6:30 and left the house in work out pants, tennis shoes and a teeshirt at ten til 7.  My gold handbag on one arm and my italian leather gym bag holding my outfit for the day on the other arm.

The walk took 45 minutes and with my ipod providing a soundtrack, it was not unlike an indie movie.  Spiritualized “I Want You” played twice, followed by franz ferdinand “Jacqueline.”  At any moment I could have been in a scene from the next Gondry movie, had it been overcast and my shoes New Balance instead of Nike.

The morning sun was lovely, the breeze light, the bums few. I arrived at my gym next to work and headed for the shower.  I had to wait, so I enjoyed the free paper and a sandwich I brought for breakfast.

I was showered and redressed 30 minutes later, actually early for work and feeling very, very refreshed instead of logy and tired as I usually feel.

This grand experiment is looking bright, indeed. Sue would be proud.


Still going strong with the walking, albeit not every day – that feeling of refreshment?  It lasted about as long as one of Sue’s New Regimes.  I am restarting my commitment to walking to and from work every day starting tomorrow.  It’s September 1 and it’s always good to start a New Regime on a Tuesday, it gives Monday a break from being the most hated day of the week.

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