Wednesday, October 1, 2008

walking to shul

I walk to shul. It's not too far (1 1/2 miles, according to googlemaps) and takes about half an hour each way. At least a third of my fellow shulgoers seems to pass by me on their way, judging from their comments: You WALK? Where do you live? You have to move! Some feel guilty for not stopping, others worry that it isn't safe. Still, after only six weeks in town, more people have taken note of me than in my last shul over two years.

There isn't much to see on my walk: a Japanese restaurant, a garden supplies store that also sells "boiled p-nuts", a bank, a police station, and a public library. I cross a leafy neighborhood that was majority Jewish back when (or so I was told) Jews weren't allowed to own property in town. Ironically, these formerly Jewish houses share space with a country club that didn't accept Jews until recently and reportedly still keeps out African-Americans (!). The gardens house exotic plants, for example enormous rubber trees. In my childhood, they were sorry-looking and populated dusty offices but here, they are impressive creatures with glossy leaves, and I can't get over how big they are.

The foot traffic on my five-lane street, by the way, is so light that this morning, when I took the shortcut by the garden store for the umpteenth time this week, the owner invited me to run in his store because it was cooler!

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