Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Outing (or a one-person field trip)

This morning, I went on a little walk around town. I haven't really done this by myself until today. I knew I wanted to go to the library and then to the drugstore to pick up some photos that I'm going to use as reference. I figured in between A, B, and C; I might be able to stop and smell the hyacinths at A 1/2 and B 3/4. Leisure was planned, but bonus points were achieved for actually getting something accomplished.

I made it to the library without much trouble. The magazine room was calling me, and I made a beeline for a comfortable seat next to the window. There was a stack of magazines in my lap. I tore through them, mostly looking at pictures and announcements. Artist, Cape Cod , and  Bicycling* magazines entertained me in the sumptuous quiet of the library.

Getting to the drug store was a little bit trickier. Busy intersections with unreliable traffic lights left me kind of stranded on the sidewalk. The thing is, if there's a lot of traffic, I can't keep track of what's coming and going... so I wait, and wait (oh, hey, somebody else just crossed? maybe I should try??), and wait... until the crosswalk light tells me it's ok to go. Even then, my head is swiveling around looking for the motorist that is cruising right on red. Or the person who isn't paying attention to the lights.  My anxiety creeps in on me. It's times like this that I know I still have recovering to do.

And the noise! I couldn't walk on the main street for long because of all the noise. A truck hitting it's squealing brakes caused me to dart and search out a quiet secondary street. I had to get away from it. Noises cause me problems.   There was an instance when I was standing at an intersection (already anxious), and saw a firetruck blasting it's sirens coming out of a side street... the thought of the firetruck driving by with sirens blaring AND the intersection I was currently facing caused me to panic a bit. I was sure that I would have been freaked out enough to cry right there, but luck came my way and the roaring engine went in the opposite direction.

When I am out by myself and there is a lot of stimulus (loud traffic, busy intersections, crowds), I have noticed I tend to walk with my head swiveling around, wide eyes darting in all directions. My steps are quick, my arms in a praying mantis pose clutching my bag, or held so that if I fall, my hands will break it (not my head). I figure I look a bit like a nut. So, I smile at the people I walk by.... which might result in me looking like a certifiable nut. But, I try to be friendly. And I try not to be scared or overwhelmed. Focusing on positive things helps me.

The good things from today's outing:
-I got some reference prints for paintings
-Sitting quietly in the library and looking at magazines
-Reeses Easter eggs, 50% off
-Inexpensive gold flecked nail polish
-Pictures of narcissus, crocus, hyacinths, and a magnificent circle of grape hyacinths
-I went out and did things by myself

* was mentioned. I rather like this site and the jerseys for sale, as I have been the target of motorist  road rage (yelling, hand gestures, honking, driving thisclosetome). My only infraction was that I was on pavement (the horrors!!). I don't run red lights, I am just this side of the white line, and I'm not flipping people off. I've got enough problems without instigating a cyclist vs. car fight. I'm wearing what amounts to a thin layer of spandex, cruising down a road doing 30; while motorists who are driving AND texting in 1 ton vehicles of steel and glass are barreling past. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. No, I don't have to ride in the gutter. A majority of the time I ride, I am by myself, so if something happens, I'm kinda s.o.l.  So, if you're out cruising in your car, please give the cyclist some room, patience, and respect. And ...  Shame on you, Tony Kornheiser.

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