Low-profile weekend: no travel, no events, but that’s the point. It occurred to me many years ago that people take pictures of themselves on vacation and visiting the sites as if their daily lives aren’t anything to look at. So when I set out Sunday afternoon to walk to my neighborhood stores for some retail entertainment and groceries, I brought my camera. Unfortunately I got out late in the day and was feeling a little too rushed to take as many pictures as I would have liked. Nevertheless I snapped a photo at the fence between Target and Studio Village in Culver City where everyone hops – because the parking is too crowded at Target, or they need to shop one of the stores at Studio Village too and only want to park once, or, like me, they choose to walk.
It’s so absurd, when you attempt your errands by foot, how many obstacles there are in connecting from place to place. Sidewalks generally frame shopping centers rather than connect into them. There are townhouses across the street from our neighborhood Ralph’s with a signal crossing at the traffic light, but no sidewalks to lead you in. You walk on the asphalt along with the other cars driving in and nipping at your ankles. Landscaping and plantings are installed as well with the intent to control circulation and enforce pedestrian movement off-premises. Nevertheless, despite the cost of gas and despite the obesity epidemic and, probably because of any liability issues that go along with owning a parking lot or a crosswalk, we live in an urban environment that keeps us in our cars.
So anyway, I like this patch of fence. The ground is path-worn here and the fence’s paint is worn off from the repeated hurdle-overs to reveal its pewter-toned steel. I’ve even spotted small pieces of wood sheathing placed here to assist one’s step when the ground muddies from rain. I have, on a number of occasions, waited for others to make their way over before my turn over the barrier. I feel like I’m participating in a collective small choice: amidst these loomingly large corporate stores fencing off their big parking lots there is this pinhole leak of rogue pedestrians subtly creating (and polishing) new networks and connections. It’s just a small act of freedom in this car-encapsulated, calorie conscious, litigious world we live in.