Yesterday, I left the apartment for my morning walk and turned left. Normally, I turn right. That is to say, I usually go north. Yesterday, I went immediately south.
At the time, it reminded me how good it feels to break up the routine. Any routine. Pick one. And alter it. Maybe by making enough small changes, I thought, we can minimize the discomfort that comes with big change. In the process, we give ourselves an entire landscape to explore. That’s what I told myself.
Perhaps it was still on my mind an hour later when I crossed the street illegally.
This was no average jaywalking. I left the curb at one corner of an intersection (specifically La Grange and Granville) and walked directly, diagonally to the opposite curb (still La Grange and Granville).
Although mildly exhilarating, I could not deny my actions had little consequence. I had departed one place – moved completely against the lawfully prescribed pattern – and ended up in a location with the exact same name.
But that’s not a complete rendering of it. I was brought a minor fraction closer to my destination. And lingering in the center of the intersection, a place reserved for white gloved traffic officers, felt good. I succeeded in putting myself – however briefly – into a place I had never been.
On walks like yesterday’s, fellow pedestrians don’t smile at me, but at the $3.99 bunch of flowers tucked into my Trader Joe’s shopping bag. Simultaneously, my upturned mouth rests on the enthusiasm of their dogs. Once in a while, though, our grins slip from blossoms and puppies on to each other.
Can it be we’re all equally hungry, searching for unnamed changes, longing for new paths Saturday after Sunday after Tuesday on the same city grid?
Tomorrow I will go west.