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Hometown Tourist

It’s quite amazing that I left the house on my day off, but I did.

I should clarify:  I left the house and did not go to the grocery store or the dump.

Living in the country not only means trips to the dump; it also means I’m 30 or 40 minutes away from just about everything…which maybe shouldn’t deter me from getting out and about, but it does.  Since I was staying in town this week, I thought I would take the opportunity to do some hometown exploring.  Turns out I need a whole lot more than two days to get that done.  I guess I knew that, but I didn’t realize the scope of what I was missing until now.

I have two of you to blame for this wanderlust (if you can call leaving the house wanderlust).  The first, of course, is Nick, whose posts about travel near and far are so very captivating.  And the second, of course, is Malinda, who has recently been getting out to appreciate the world around her and then posting the photos to prove it.

What I found in the world around me, is a little bit of everything.  Two days and 585 pictures later (I love my digital camera), I know a little bit more about the place I grew up in, I met a few people, and I took a short trip down memory lane.  I also took some time out in the middle of going and doing and seeing, to sit and think and write.  So (naturally) there’s more to come on being a hometown tourist.

For now, I’m just going to share a taste of what I was up to – a little bit of a little bit of everything.

Here is a little people watching – or should I say people hearing – bonus.  These are a few of the things I overheard as I was bounding around town:

“Good Lord, where’ve you been driving to?”

“I don’t know, and I have no plans to learn it!”

Mom: “Okay, lets go down to the crosswalk, and go over there to that shop.
Little boy, very sincerely: “I hope a car doesn’t run over us.”

Woman 1: “I don’t like to cook.  I will have a husband who cooks.”
Woman 2: “Those who cannot cook need not apply.”

Here’s my favorite!
Let me set the scene: I am crawling by in my car, because I see this woman stepping further and further out into the street, with her back to the one-way traffic (I mean, come on lady, you only had to look in one direction!), and without paying the slightest bit of attention.  The man she’s with, who is himself almost in the street, grabs her arm to pull her back out of the way.  He does not say, “Be careful,” or “Pay attention,” or “What are you, nuts?”

What he says is, “Watch out for these lunatics.  These f***ing people don’t know how to drive!”

I do, in fact, know how to drive, which is how I managed not to hit her.  But…I couldn’t help smiling to myself.  Because, well, people are crazy.


Items of interest:

National Parks Cure Melancholy by atomsofthought

A Walk In The Woods by Malinda Essex (Dendrochronology)

A heady mix of camera and the streets by Vishal Tomar

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a wonderful idea! We go about our daily lives and never stop to observe the world around us. We used to when we were kids but somewhere along the way we lost that ability. Too busy, I guess! I will be visiting my home town this summer after an absence of many years and I told my family I want to take the time to walk the streets and take everything in. After reading this I think I’ll take my camera. It will force me to slow down and really LOOK. Thanks for a great post and photos.

    June 23, 2011
    • Thanks, that’s so sweet!

      Yet again I’m reminded by your comment how we pass these things on from one to another. Two particular bloggers inspired me, then my post gives you an idea… Maybe your family will be inspired by the enthusiasm and the fresh eyes with which you’re looking at their town. Maybe they will, in their turn, encourage friends and neighbors to look a little closer at what is right in front of them. Who knows?

      June 23, 2011
  2. What fun! And a good idea. And, no matter where you go, people are just crazy. . . but that’s fun too, if you do not hit them and laugh at their audaciousness.

    June 23, 2011
    • I know! Maybe another day it would have irritated me, but I was in too good a mood. I just kept driving, laughing as I went. It really was funny. I bet I was having a better day than they were, anyway. And I’ll admit that I’m sometimes one of those crazy people :).

      June 23, 2011
  3. changingmoods #

    I love exploring places (even places I’m familiar with) and taking random photos of what I see. Even with a familiar place one can always find something new.

    “I see this woman stepping further and further out into the street, with her back to the one-way traffic (I mean, come on lady, you only had to look in one direction!)”

    I think people need to look both ways when it comes to driving, regardless of what direction they’re going in. I cannot count the number of times as a pedestrian I’d have to watch out for a driver who was turning right (I’d be on the right) but who was only looking left because he or she was only concerned with cars that were driving by. You don’t only have to look out for vehicular traffic.

    June 23, 2011
    • You’re so right! You have to really pay attention to every thing. It’s bad enough in the car, but you need to be extra aware as a pedestrian.

      They were standing at the open door of their car, and he was on the inside. She was already a little bit out in the road, so I slowed down to a crawl and was creeping by her. I really did think she was going to step back and bump into my car. She kept edging back further and further. My driver’s side window was up to them before the guy grabbed her, so there was no way for me to really hurt her at that point. I was going way slower than you would even back out of your driveway. Anyway, that’s how I heard them, my windows were all down. LOL!

      June 23, 2011
  4. “He does not say, “Be careful,” or “Pay attention,” or “What are you, nuts?”

    ha ha…the best one..!! i happy we share similar opinion and exploring hometown turns out to be fun…theres something about observing everyday activities in a new light that provokes us to become ‘hometown tourist’

    keep em coming..

    June 23, 2011
    • Thank you! And thanks for coming by, too. I had to add your post, it fit in so well and it will keep inspiring me to talk to people.

      I have a lot of pictures to go, these are just a few, so I’m going to break them down into separate posts. Mine aren’t like your wonderful photos, but they’ll do :). And I want to keep getting out there and really seeing where I live!

      June 23, 2011
  5. Beverly Wood #

    Awesome pics too! I love this idea and it does make me want to take the extra time to slow down and really take it all in!

    Thanks for the post!!

    June 25, 2011
    • Thanks, Beverly. I took so many pictures. Once I started with the picture taking, I kept seeing things a little differently – noticing, I guess.

      Have you ever had the experience where you’re driving on the same old road, you know this road, every inch of it. Then all of a sudden, it’s like you wake up and you’re wondering where the hell you are. Did I make a wrong turn back there? You know you didn’t, you know this is the right road, but you find yourself looking hard at the street signs, looking for anything that will confirm that you’re not in some parallel universe. Or worse – lost. Nothing looks familiar. Finally something pops up around the bend that you recognize. Turns out you don’t know this road like the back of your hand. You’re just driving along every day with a kind of blinders on. Sometimes the flap is up, and sometimes it’s down. We don’t pay as much attention to the world around us as we think we do.

      So, there’s that. But I was also noticing such small stuff: below street level windows that were barred, but they were also bricked up (seems a bit like overkill :)); ornate brickwork around the tops of buildings; spiderwebs and shadows; fences, I couldn’t get my fill of fences; the same with windows, so many different kinds of windows. And there were lives being lived behind those windows. Even more to think about.

      Do you have a hobby? Yeah, Fredericksburg. 🙂

      June 25, 2011

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