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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Get fit, Be Green

I had a novel idea yesterday.

I decide to leave my much appreciated SUV in the parking lot and walk.

I thought I'd save the environment a little and work off the box of Girl Scout cookies I spent the previous evening with at the same time.

I'm sad to say that the great state of Maryland thwarted my attempts to be a healthy, conscientious member of society. Not what I expected from the fifth greenest state in the nation.

I am a California girl at heart and being from L.A. made me rely heavily on my motor vehicle (bad public transport). Apparently, it also spoiled me, but not for the reason you think. In L.A., walking may not be the preferred method of transport, but if you want to go that route you are going to be kindly greeted by a bit of pavement on which to traverse. You will also have the opportunity experience what appears to be a unique phenomenon: a working crosswalk light.

Why are neither of these things available in my area?

I simply wanted to safely push #3, in his stroller, down the street from point A to point B.

Is that really too much to ask?

Our journey began without much difficulty, and things seemed to be going quite well until the sidewalk abruptly ran out.

One second we were on it, the next second we were walking on the shoulder of one of the city's most heavily travelled highways. Cars were whizzing past me and my little MacLaren.

My only option was to follow the path beaten by countless other pedestrians who were alarmed to find themselves walking in the middle of traffic.

Unfortunately, this path beat up a very steep, rocky, muddy, partially grass covered hill. Fine for the lone traveller. Not so fine for the SAHM pushing an umbrella stroller with a 25 pound toddler on board, and an undercarriage full of crap.

I hugged the shoulder for as long as I could, attempting to avoid a head to head with the hill.

But, in an effort to prevent bodily harm to myself and my oblivious (thank goodness) offspring, I decided that the hill (felt like a mountain) was the only way to go.

It was not pretty. I'm sure passerby were appalled at my pushing, pulling, dragging, heaving, hoeing of the stroller, baby, and multitude of random belongings. But, seriously people, the sidewalk just ENDED!

Let me take a moment to give a shot out to the makers of the MacLaren Quest Sport strollers. I have often been caught complaining about the lack of cup holder, the inaccessibility of the under basket, and the absence of a snack tray for baby. But, let me recant all previous MacLaren bashing and just say the safety harness on that thing is AWESOME! Thanks to the masterfully engineered design, #3 did not tumble from the buggy despite that fact that it spent a portion of the day on its side and possibly upside down being drug up the face of a mini mountain. But, just so you know, the model I have is truly not designed for any type of off roading or hiking, which I can now personally attest to.

If only cresting the hill and running out of sidewalk were our only obstacles to a healthier lifestyle. We also had to deal with the fact that not one of the crosswalk lights works and similarly, neither do the street signs.
I'm not sure why the city/state invests time in purchasing, installing, or maintaining these signs b/c no one, absolutely NO ONE, acknowledges them. Some of the crosswalks we encountered were monitored by lights (that never changed to walk) and others were marked by these little numbers. Every single car zoomed past like I was the Invisible woman. Maybe people just don't know what they mean, although I find them to be largely self explanatory. But, for those of you who don't know, they mean be aware that there may be a lady and her baby crossing the street here so please slow down and try not to kill them.

What is this world coming to when people don't stop to let a woman and a baby cross the street?

This is why I don't walk. I go for walks, say in my neighborhood, or at the park where the sole purpose of my venture is to walk. However, I do not walk. If I have a distinct destination, I take my car. Sad, but true. It's not safe, and waiting to cross the street (particularly when light never changes and/or people never stop) is just too time consuming.

I hate to be a supporter of the gas guzzling road hogs out there, and Lord only know I could use as much time as I can get working up a sweat, but it's just not possible.

I can not subject myself and my child to the torture of ill equipped roadways.

It's just wrong.


Anonymous said...

And the kids are probably taking in less fumes when in the car, as opposed to outside of it in the fresh air.

...which is what I tell myself as I lug my blessed MacLaren past the sidewalk and into the trunk where it belongs.

parentingBYdummies said...

Amen, sister!

Giving away two copies of the movie Extract starring Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck. Contest ends 4/2/10.
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