The Cold and the Dark

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On December 8 Metro Transit added a new express
bus line
to downtown Minneapolis, where I work. The northern
terminus
of this bus line is about 1¼ miles from
my home. This is well within normal walking distance for me, and there are sidewalks along Rice Street, where traffic can be quite serious. So
I decided it was time to leave the car at home and do my normal commuting entirely by walking and public transportation like
mia_mcdavid and I did in Chicago until 1987. I have been doing so ever since.

This has both pros and cons:

Pros

  1. It is more environmentally friendly. One less car on the road.
  2. Driving tied up a major family asset (our 2nd car), leaving it idle and inaccessible in a parking facility all day long.
    Now it can be used when the 1st car is unavailable.
  3. More exercise

Cons


Tuesday, Janary 22, 2013
Downtown Minneapolis, about 10 AM on January 22. It had warmed up noticeably from 6:30 AM, when the temperature was
-14oF/-26oC.


  1. I am walking outside at 6:30 AM. It is cold and dark (this is winter in Minnesota). I feel very vulnerable and lonely. There
    are lots of cars out, but few other pedestrians. That is the nature of suburbia.
  2. Right after a significant snowfall (this is winter in Minnesota) the sidewalks are unuseable. Then I have to walk more in the streets,
    which are efficiently plowed before 6 AM, but has the obvious dangers.
  3. When there is a cold north wind (this is winter in Minnesota) it really stings my eyes on the northward afternoon walk. The
    rest of my head and my body are well covered and can take it, but the rushing cold air easily gets behind my glasses.
  4. It takes about 15-20 minutes more each direction, though that partially offset by (3)under pros — I don’t feel as much need for
    a lunch-hour exercise walk.

During the Holiday season I had “Good King Wenceslas” going through my head frequently
during these walks. More recently it has been replaced by Stan Rogers “Northwest Passage.”

Fortunately, the walks will get easier as spring approaches. Already there is a reddish glow in the east at 6:30 AM (on clear days).

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