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“Between a quarter and a third of Los Angeles’s land area is now monopolized by the automobile and its needs-by freeways, highways, garages, gas stations, car lots, parking lots. And all of it is blanketed with anonymity and foul air.”–Alistair Cooke

San Francisco is the 2nd most walkable large city in the U.S. with a Walk Score of 85.–walkscore.com (2012)

In a mood for a walk with a change of scene, I recently took the bus from my neighborhood–highlighted by a beige shopping mall–to one of San Francisco’s “diverse” neighborhoods. After stretching my legs for a mile or so I came to a cool thrift shop and popped in. Waiting for me was one spiffy little wicker trunk, just right for a coffee table. $16. I had to have it.

I had to get it home.

Taxis seldom cruise the San Francisco hinterland. Calling one can mean a long, fruitless wait. And the fare would invalidate my bargain. So I started walking.

Though light, the trunk was an armful. I unwound my long scarf from my neck, threaded it through the handles and carried the trunk like the world’s biggest picnic basket. I kept my find intact through the walk back to the bus stop, onto the bus, during the ride, off the bus, and to my apartment.

And thought about the car I’d left behind in Los Angeles. Where I could have driven to one of scads of interesting, staid, historic, contemporary, quiet, hoppin’, or otherwise diverse neighborhoods to enjoy a walk with a change of scene.

And gotten my find home in quick time, safety, and comfort.

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