I stayed overnight at my dad and stepmother's house on Friday night and when I woke up around 7:30 a.m., I decided to head home. Nobody else was up yet, so I left myself out the back door and got in my car...which wouldn't start.
Now I was outside, without a key, and unwilling to wake up the household to get back in. I called my husband, but I knew there was no way he'd be up at that hour. After considering my options for a few minutes (and calling my mechanic to let him know to expect the car again this week), I started thinking about a coffee shop about seven blocks away. Coffee is one of my favorite things about mornings (read: addictions), so I set off on foot to spend my last $3 on a cafe mocha.
The coffee shop was pretty busy and it was clearly a neighborhood place; everyone knew everyone else and I was the outsider. The coffee had all the flaws of a mediocre mocha: too sweet, not strong enough and not bitter enough. I drank it anyway and tried my husband about an hour after I'd placed my first call, but to no avail. I played a couple of games of solitaire on my PDA and then decided I wanted some breakfast.
Our favorite breakfast place is less than a mile further up the road, and I made it there relatively quickly. There was a wait, so I put my name in and read the paper outside until they called my name. I thought my husband might eventually wake up and listen to the phone messages, but I ended up eating by myself. By this time, I was within 3-4 miles from home, so it seemed perfectly reasonable to walk the rest of the way back.
I knew the route well, so I had no problem making my way through the neighborhoods between the restaurant and our house. I wish I'd been carrying my digital camera to catch some of the little details I noticed along the way. I saw lots of flowers in people's yards, plenty of cats, and I noticed that when squirrels are wet, their tails appear ringed, almost like a raccoon's tail.
I was within four blocks of home when my husband finally called me back. He sounded rather shocked that I was walking home, but I declined his offer to come and drive me home from where I was by then. I talked to my sister as I walked, and she sounded similarly surprised at my undertaking. You'd think I'd told them, "I had an accident on the thresher and dragged myself five miles on bloody stumps," rather than, "I had a nice little five-mile stroll punctuated by coffee and breakfast."
I think it taught me that I need to walk around in town more often. It's amazing what you notice on foot that you never perceive while you're driving.