Anyone who has been reading this thang since its inception knows that the title of this post, walking home from work, used to be a pretty typical phrase for me. Back in the Denver Days, walking to and from work (and everywhere for anything in between) was a commonality in my daily existence. I walked to work in the morning, walked home in the evening. Piece of cake, every day.
I lived 4 blocks from work back then.
Now, I work in the CBD over near the Canal St. side. I live in the Lower Garden District, kinda near Jackson, a block away from Magazine St. (That’s as vague as I can get for, you know, security purposes.) I don’t Walk To/From Work anymore as a general rule, due to time really. And weather and seasonally due to daylight and what comes out when daylight ain’t there and all those other things you have to worry about down here. I am a Streetcar Commuter.
So utilizing my feets as a means of commute transport is no longer a given. But, sometimes, ya just gotta do it.
Today’s exodus home was the third time that I have done this. The first time, back in May, J and I couldn’t stand loitering on the corner anymore waiting for a non-existent streetcar to get us after we went and saw Trombone Shorty at Wednesday at the Square. So we hoofed it home from Lafayette Square and that is when I learned that, despite being unprepared in the WAY WRONG SHOES (thereby earning myself a blister or two), and plowing through swarms of termites (the Season had just begun), it wasn’t such a bad little hike.
Sometime about a month ago, after work, I was approaching St. Charles and was about half a block away when I saw a streetcar trundle by. “Damn,” I thought. “I missed it. Ah well, another one’ll come along.” As soon as I thought that, a 2nd one went by. Two streetcars, back to back. (When they do that it always reminds me of those Love Bug critters during mating season…) I may still be a New Kid, but I’ve been doing this streetcar thing just long enough to know that when you see two cars go by one right after the other…it’s gonna be about half an hour before you see another one. Especially if there is butt-to-cheek traffic and they’re filming up the road. So, on a dime-drop decision, I made a hard right on St. Charles, and Walked Home. By Myself.
Loved it. The terrain is fascinating. It’s all City Downtowny, then it’s Lee’s Circle and the underpass and vagrants and some interesting folks, and then it’s my neighborhood (my scope of this is expanding past the streets just around me now, my world is getting bigger) and the whole thing is kind of just awesome and full of that New Orleans thing, for bettah and for worse.
I survived doing this 30-minute hike in the heat, too. I was so proud!
So yeah, today. I get off work. I go to my car stop. Seeing a trend yet? It’s all about the streetcars. Or the lack thereof. I’ve got a whole other diatribe about them eventually (80% love, 20% argh). After waiting about 20 minutes, a car stuffed to the gills with a ripe combo of 4th of July visitors and/or Essence fest visitors + folks like me just wanting to go home, rolled by and didn’t stop because it was too full. Then another one came, just like it. Then ANOTHER one came and actually stopped and at this point it was 30 minutes after I had walked out the office door and I just couldn’t face standing-room-only in the Sardine Car so I said, “SCREW IT. I’m Walking Home.”
So I did. Sweat and friction burn on the bottom of my feets (all gone already) and STILL. The ceaseless joy of wandering by myself through the city that I love. Today, before I hit the underpass, one of the curbside beer-drinking guys hollered after me. I turned around, expecting the usual: asks for money, a cigarette, you know…and all he said was, “You are looking lovely today. I want you to have a beautiful life.” Thanks, baby. You too.
Can’t complain. Happy 4th, y’all.
Featured Image: A collage I did of shots I took from my first solo walk home. From top to bottom, left to right (in columns) – HOTEL on St. Charles in the CBD; Coming Up on Lee’s Circle; Going ‘Round Lee’s Circle; Calliope, After the Overpass; Lower Garden District (Blind Pelican); WWII Museum; Fleurty Girl’s Showroom on St. Charles; The Circle Bar.