Monday, April 02, 2007

Perceptions

One of the easiest ways to discover that not everyone views the world the way that you do is to talk about distance. Growing up in a large country and in an area with more than it's share of traffic, fifteen miles can easily take an hour. Going to meet someone who lives on the other side of town can take a bit, and yet, it's not considered a big thing. (There is of course the Virginia/Maryland divide wherein folks who live on one side often act as if huge effort is require to cross the river, but that's a whole other entry.)
I met a woman from Australia who lived in London for a bit. A guy she dated broke up with her because the forty minute (with traffic) distance for them to meet up was too much for him. (We scoffed.)
I talked with a woman in New Jersey who worked early hours (6:30am -3:30pm) because her commute was thirty miles. In reviewing someone's request to change networks (insurance stuff) she was shocked that the person indicated this change would put them thirty minutes from the nearest doctor - to her thirty minutes was thirty miles and that seemed way too long for a doctor.
More recently a new restaurant has opened up near work (finally) and several people who knew I had been to check it out asked if I drove and if so where did I park. This restaurant is two blocks away. They are long blocks, but there are only two. It is a ten minute walk.
Now, since inclusivity is a primary theme in my life these days, I recognize I have to allow for all sorts of walking preferences in life. I am not telling anyone they have to walk, although I have suggested it seems that getting the car out of our parking lot would take at least five minutes, and then finding parking another five, such that all gained time would be lost. (It would make sense on an icky day, but all the days these conversations have occurred were beautiful.) But to each their own.
Of course in my current car use reduced life, it is easier for me to opt for walking since my car is typically not at work with me. And since all told, I get close to a mile of walking in just getting myself to work, two blocks seems even less.
Of course, I was confronted with a contrasting example myself when in Bethesda recently. Being the downtown area that it is, there are multiple Starbucks to choose from. My friend and I had met in the vicinity of one, but opted to go to the other since it had outdoor seating. I had assumed one of us would drive until my friend started walking. And then I realized that really we are talking about six, maybe seven, blocks each way. Nothing really. And so walk we did. (Although upon our return my friend did comment she thought she had done her walking for the day.)

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