Friday, February 29, 2008

A mile (and then some) in my shoes

I left the house at about 8:30 this morning, walked Evan to his school building and then walked Julia to hers. After I'd dropped the kids I continued on to the grocery store, where I was lucky enough to bump into a friend who had driven there. "I'll give you a ride home with your packages," she offered, and I was more than happy to accept; I wasn't planning to buy all that much, but I usually catch the bus home from the market and those final few blocks that I have to walk on foot with all of those shopping bags are a killer. (Thanks again, Katie!)

An hour or so later, I was off on foot again, back to Evan's school where I retrieved him and a friend, met up with the friend's mum and shepherded everyone back here for lunch. We had a lovely playdate, but it was over too soon; not much time to play, really, when the walk back to Julia's school had to be factored into the time equation. Evan and I said our goodbyes to our friends, went to pick Julia up, and then walked on to the Tube station. I handed the kids a steady stream of snacks as we caught the train to Baker Street and then walked the 10 minutes from there to their swim lessons. An hour and a half later, we emerged and trudged the three blocks or so to the bus stop. Their hair was still a little wet, but it was raining anyway so I guess it didn't make much of a difference.

It was rush hour by now, so we waited on several busses before one actually stopped for us. When it did, we packed in like sardines and stood for the 10 minute ride. The kids were way too tired to walk the 15 minutes home from the spot this bus left us off, so we waited at least that long for a second bus, trying to keep warm in the inadequate shelter of the bus stop as the wind howled by us. When the C11 finally came, Evan started to cry because his preferred seat was already occupied, Julia started to whine because she was tired and I very nearly violated the poor man standing behind me when the driver turned sharply to the left before I'd really had a chance to get my footing. (In my defense, it was no easy task to juggle Julia's school bag, the backpack full of wet swimming gear, the carrier bag full of snacks and sandwiches to carry the kids through the journey, and the stroller Evan couldn't quite manage without but didn't exactly care to ride in either.) I apologized profusely as I steadied myself, reassuring the kids that we were nearly home and that I was proud of their efforts. Only a 7 minute ride and a 5 minute walk to go.

I know that I often extol the benefits and the virtues of life without a car. I mean every word of praise that I utter; I am in far better shape for all of the walking I do on a daily basis and public transportation can in theory carry me and my family pretty much anywhere we want to go here. But sometimes, the ease and convenience of a car would be awfully nice indeed. Today was one of those days.


Anonymous Gretchen said...

Oh, I can feel your aching feet all the way across one ocean and one continent. When I was in college, I had no car and had to walk miles and miles all the time. Sounds all cool from where I sit now, but at the time it wasn't much fun.

Go treat yourself to a pedicure, eh? You and your feet deserve it.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm exhausted just SITTING here, thinking about all of that running around. Whew!

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I reckon this would be a bad time to bring up our recent conversation vis-a-vis NJ, homes and automobiles?

11:39 PM  
Blogger Iota said...

That doesn't sound much fun. I think kids and public transport is a risky mix. Usually fine, but then there are those days...

When I lived in London and didn't have a car, I used to justify cab rides to myself on the basis that you could take an awful lot of them before the total cost would add up to the cost of buying and running a car (or running and parking a car). Maybe if it's raining next week...

2:42 PM  
Blogger Patois said...

On the other hand, how often do you get the chance to (nearly) violate a stranger when in your own car?

4:43 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Oh, your poor feet! I agree with Gretchen, go get a pedicure!!

10:18 PM  

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