Years ago, I undertook an extended walk to the Pacific Ocean (on a Sunday when there was no public transportation.) Having underestimated the excursion’s difficulty (or overestimated my abilities), my agonizing return journey acquired the qualities of a desperate trek through the Kalahari Desert.
For those of us with a rich and fertile imagination, a normal activity can become a torturous adventure. As occurred again recently.
Continuing to recover from my Legionnairial mishap, I am not yet up to my traditional Thursday morning outing to the Groundwork coffee emporium. My ongoing recovery, however, allows me to extend my rehabilitational activities.
Today, it was a half-hour walk on generally flat terrain. (The return journey from Groundwork includes a substantially steep hill. * (* The hill actually extends in both directions, but the return version is “up.”)
You might recall from an earlier blog post concerning my Thursday Walk, wherein I found myself returning home holding an untouched cup of Groundwork coffee, awakening me to the fact that I did not really want coffee but that, as a congenitally goal-directed individual, I somehow required a specific purpose for my walk – other than just walking, even if that purpose was entirely contrived.
Lesson learned? As we shall now see,
I have determined the parameters of my alternative walk – departing from my house, proceeding north on Fourth Street to Pico, west on Pico to Main Street, south on Main Street to Ocean Park Boulevard, east on Ocean Park Boulevard onto Fourth Street, and north on Fourth Street back to the house.
That was interesting, wasn’t it?
I begin my walk. And, the walk being an ambulatorial bookmark for my Thursday Groundwork walk, I immediately consider where I can stop off for coffee.
(The “habitual” portion of my thinking process having apparently learned nothing.)
Peet’s Coffee on Main Street pops to mind. A good choice, it appears. Located three quarters of the way through my walk, I will probably be tiring by then – making it the perfect resting spot to take a break for coffee.
(Even though – as previously demonstrated – my regular walks, including this one, have nothing to do with coffee.)
Turning left onto Pico, my mind suddenly ignites with excitement. I now realize that with a mere two-and-a-half block extension to my walk (in both directions), I can make it to Cora’s Coffee Shop. I like Cora’s coffee better than Peet’s. So okay, I will go to Cora’s instead.
Continuing on, however, it occurs to me that, at my current stage of rehabilitation, an addition to my walk would be inappropriately taxing; I was not quite ready for that. I decide then to eschew Cora’s, reminding myself that Peet’s coffee is almost as good.
(Simultaneously reminding myself that I do not really want coffee.)
Proceeding now down Main Street, it abruptly occurs to me:
I can get coffee at the M Street Kitchen!
And a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie as well!
Approaching M Street Kitchen across the street, I spot a large delivery truck blocking the entrance, so I am unable to determine if it’s open. I can feel an urgency in my body, my neck craning desperately to see around the delivery truck.
I can also feel the disappointment.
M Street Kitchen is fermee.
Oh, well. Peet’s is not far way. I can still get my coffee…
Wait! What about the Urth Café, coming up immediately on the left?
(Man, there are a lot of coffee places in my neighborhood!)
It is then that I take myself seriously in hand – necessary because I am demonstrably out of control – and I angrily remind myself:
“You do not really. Want. Coffee!”
The self-rebuke is effective. Walking past Urth Café, I feel dutifully chastened. So dutifully chastened, in fact, that a block-and-a-half later…
I walk obliviously past Peet’s Coffee!
I do not even notice it‘s there!
I am now virtually in the clear. (There is still the Novel Café in my path, but having passed four places where the coffee is better, it is hardly a realistic consideration.)
Minutes later, I am ascending my front steps.
My excursion successfully completed.
And no coffee.
It was not easy.
And I am not talking about the excursion.