Last night, I ate with the Cheap Dinner Group again. To be honest, I think I’ve gone every week for about a month now. I think it’ll be difficult to drop down to only attending every other Monday night once my father starts staying at my place on Monday nights regularly again. It’s just nice to get out and chat with people that night.
At the end of dinner, just before we left, I got a massive cramp in my left thigh. I wasn’t ready to go yet, so I had fun trying to manage to get the muscles to relax while still sitting there. At one point, I had to stand up briefly. I’m not sure what brought the whole incident on, but I managed to survive it without too much difficulty.
After the dinner, I went for my walk. I walked West on Park Avenue until I reached Alexandar, which I then took to East. From there, I headed back to Berkeley, crossed back to Park from there, and continued back along Park until I got back to my car. The whole trip took me just under 45 minutes, which made it a pretty good walk. It was actually quite pleasant, though I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get hit on this time. Oh sure, last week was just a fluke and I shouldn’t realistically expect it to happen all the time anyway. But it still would’ve been nice to get another little ego boost out of the whole thing.
During my walk, I came to my conclusion about iPods. One of the things I noticed is that the vast majority of the other people walking, running, or riding bike along my route had an iPod in them. So as a result, they were lost in their own world of music and endorphins. And while I can certainly see how that might make the process of exercising more enjoyable in some ways (and certainly helps with focus), it also has a negative impact on my other reason for walking.
At the risk of showing just how old fashioned I am, I tend to still see going for a walk through town as a social act. The whole idea brings up rustic images of Main Street in a small town right around sunset. People are all walking along, greeting each other as they pass.
“Hello there, Joe!”
“Hey Sam! How are the kids?”
“Pretty good. Eugene called the other night. Susan had the baby two nights ago. A little girl.”
I’ll be the first to admit that a small city like Rochester probably isn’t going to support that kind of neighborly intimacy. Like I said, I’ll be the first to admit I’m old fashioned (and something of a country bumpkin in some ways). However, you’d think there’d still be room for simple pleasantries.
Wearing an iPod enables a person to isolate themselves from that kind of interaction. “Being off in their own world” becomes pretty literal after a while. And I find that a shame.
Of course, it wouldn’t be so bad if this isolation was just limited to wearing an iPod while exercising. We seem to be pretty insular on many levels and in many areas of our lives. So to me, the problem wasn’t so much that everyone wears iPods while out getting their exercise as that this fact is representative of what seems to me to be a greater problem.