7/29/99 - Traveling very far on foot in LA is a pretty uncommon experience, unless you're pushing a shopping cart and wearing shoes you found in a dumpster.  But for such an esoteric subject, I can think of a song about it (Missing Person's "Walking in LA"), as well as Steve Martin's exaggerated laughter to Victoria Tennant's suggestion that they walk in LA Story.

I don't mind walking.  Ever since my Diamondback Viper got a flat tire when I was about 13 and I was too dumb and lazy to ask my mom to buy me a new tire, I've developed a penchant for walking to places that others feel are too far.  I twice walked home from middle school, which took me about 2 1/2 hours to do.  When I was still a little bag of raging hormones in middle school, I would walk to the big shopping center that was about a 25-30 minute walk away.  I'd go there to play video games, or buy pro wrestling magazines, or to look for other little bags of raging hormones, except that these ones had two new protrusions growing out of their chests. 

But I soon became fat, and stopped walking.  A couple of years later I got a car, and I wouldn't have walked to my backyard if the driveway had led that far.  Having a car, even a used Civic or Metro, meant freedom and a certain degree of coolness, and having been cool-deprived for much of my time in San Diego, I set about trying to make up for it by putting about 30,000 miles annually on my car(s) during the last couple of years of high school. 

Then I went off to the university (doesn't it sound pretentious to say "the University", like there is only one in the world?  I thought so, too), and I was carless, so I had to begin to walk places.   Being studious during my first few years of school, I naturally had to walk to class everyday.  When I was in Pullman, I had to walk off-campus if I wanted something mildly enjoyable to eat besides burgers and fries, so I'd walk to Taco Bell, or the big fat calzone place.  I also had to walk to the bank.   It was the first time I'd ever "walked into town", because Washington State is set apart from Downtown Pullman by about a mile or so.  I hesitate to use the phrase, "Downtown Pullman", because I usually associate downtowns with tall buildings and homeless people.  But Pullman basically consists of Washington State, the heart of the city (downtown), and the suburbs where all the professors and rich grain farmers live.  But I digress.

I walked around UCLA a lot after I transferred.  Even though I was fortunate in that UCLA had the smallest acreage of any of the UC schools, it's still a big fucking school, and since the dorms are all set apart from the rest of campus, and not integrated like they were at WSU, it was at least a fifteen minute walk to the nearest classroom.  Plus Westwood Village, where all the stores, restaurants, and places to check out hoochie mamas who aren't students at UCLA are, was another ten or fifteen minutes away, so I had to walk there, which I often did out of sheer boredom because I wasn't in my room having mad monkey sex like most of the rest of my peers.

By the time I arrived in Cerritos last year, I was really fucked.  Not only was the nearest shopping center 20 minutes away (why can't I ever live next to a shopping center?  Damn zoning laws), but so was the library, the supermarket, and all three McDonald's in the area (which I was unfortunately triangulated in the middle of).  Taking the local transit bus (the "COW") often took longer than walking, so I would say to myself, "Self, fuck it," and walk.  About a month after I moved to Cerritos, I realized I didn't know much about the surrounding area, so one Sunday morning I took a walk.  Cerritos is oddly shaped; it's sorta like a "U" as far as its boundaries, and it's surrounded by other small and medium-sized municipalities.  So over the course of the afternoon, I walked from Cerritos into Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, back into Cerritos, into La Palma, through Cerritos, into Artesia, and then back into Cerritos, where I called Ray and asked him to pick me up from Cambodonuts (one of the many local Cambodian American run donut stores in the area).

Das was mad that I didn't know what kind of donut he usually gets; he told me to walk to Bellflower until I remembered.

So anyhow, I walk a lot.  Along with Diet Coke and quitting booze, it's what I credit for keeping my weight under 200 lbs. (that's 90 kilos, Paula) since I  moved back to California.   I used to run for exercise, but since I started buying Kamels again, I feel kind of hypocritical about exercising while I'm smoking.  It's a feeling that I'm somehow betraying my lungs.  If they could talk (which they can't, because they're my lungs and not my mouth, duh!), they'd probably say. "What, you expect us to push your legs 7 miles a day while we're forced to ingest half-a-pack a day because you're brain is stressed?  Fuck you and your brain!"

Yesterday I was hungry and wanted to get some grub before I called Paula (again).  I wound up feeling in the mood for Yoshinoya (a chain of cheap beef bowl joints), but instead of walking to the closer one, which is on the corner of Bundy and Santa Monica and about 10 minutes away, I walked to the one at Santa Monica and Sepulveda, which is like twice the distance.  Hey, dumbass.

This interesting timing for this entry b/c I am fully determined to get my ass a car this weekend, and so walking will no longer be an issue for me.  Well, I'll still have to walk, just not very far.  So I'll get fat and nasty unless I <gasp> try watching what I eat and exercising again.  And of course, that'll mean I will need to quit smoking...<SIGH> Just when one problem gets solved, two more crop up.  So is my life...


 
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