Walk The Walk

 Walk The Walk

By Sean McVeigh

Despite whatever connotations my last name may imply, I am not a runner (please take a moment to recover from the shock of that information). I have, however, become a bit of a walker. Sauntering around Rockaway, especially as the weather starts to improve, has been an enjoyable pastime for me as of late.

I recently stumbled upon a new word: flâneur. It’s a French word so of course you can’t help but sound like an ass when you say it. Flâneur’s definition is “an idle man-about-town” but over time, it has grown to describe a person who wanders about a city with the only purpose being to observe. What thing the flâneur might be observing? Well, that is something only time will tell.

It all started with the dog. They say a tired dog is a good dog. Well, my quadrupedal friend does not tire easily, and I found myself walking for miles trying to wear out the pup. That combined with my newfound love for the audiobook which I discussed a few weeks ago and, now, here I am — referring to myself as a flâneur. I am not the Fitbit or Apple Watch type that is going to count my steps and it does not matter to me how far I actually go. It is all about just being out there wandering around.

Rockaway is not a very big town. The area I have been walking, the same area I have lived in my entire life, is even smaller — a microcosm of the peninsula. It is really only 20 blocks long and four blocks wide. And yet every day, I find myself going up and down different blocks that I don’t know if I’ve ever stepped foot on before. How is this even possible?

We all have our routines when coming and going to and from your house. We are all trying to avoid stop lights and speed cameras and no one wants to end up on Beach Channel Drive. When you’re walking, there is none of that. There are no one-way streets, and we don’t have to worry about speed cameras (just don’t do anything silly on someone’s Ring doorbell camera). That said, you still have to avoid Beach Channel Drive — it may have unbeatable views, but it’s like walking next to a highway from the middle of the 20th century.

I feel like I am part of a secret society at times. You run into the same people over and over again who are on the same schedule as you — most out there walking their pooches, as well. All good secret societies have a secret handshake and ours is a pleasant “hey, how are you?” You outsiders will never catch on to us. And it seems like the walking cult is growing as of late. With the more frequent fair weather, I have been seeing more and more faces on my daily strolls. There are even rumors that the pervious columnist who called this page home for so long and is rather famous for his bike riding, is dipping his toes in the walking scene … In other news, cats and dogs are living together.

I think I have pounded this keyboard enough for today. Now it’s about time I leash up the pooch, throw in the headphones and head out to pound some pavement.

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