I have a confession to make.
First off, I’m getting fat again. I’ve never changed my diet. What I did instead was walk about six miles for fun around Richmond. That morphed into me only driving to get to and from Hopewell or whatever errand I needed to run outside city limits. Otherwise, I walked. I was extreme, even for some native Richmonders. Going from the Church Hill “plateau” to Shockoe Valley and then back up Shockoe Hill to get to the Fan was crazy. Walking from the Greyhound station to Chimborazo deep in the night was absolutely outrageous.
Here in Charlottesville, I started driving most places since a huge chunk of the city is uphill of where I live. Also, although my wife walks a lot, saying something along the line of, “Hey, my friends decided 10 minutes ago that we’ll meet in an hour and, if we start walking now, we’ll be right on time to be sweaty and gross and totally earning that whiskey sour” isn’t ideal. I mean, I’ve come to realize a short walk for me isn’t a short walk for anyone else. And making plans on a whim is ridiculous to most of the world.
I like that for some reason. I don’t see it as desperation. I see it as validation. For as many times as I’ve called people at 8 p.m. to say “We’re hanging out at 9,” I’ve gotten the same from others.
That was essentially a disaster when I took a road trip once, because we were evenly split between Type A people and “We’ll randomly take this exit and see what happens.”
But I digress.
Today, I was in a mass text right before I was going to give up on doing anything. And then I said, “This city is 10 square miles. I don’t need my car.”
Especially because I feel fat and gross.
And I loved that walk.
Partially because it felt like being in Richmond again. I almost want to walk to a grocery store now to buy some “I’m too lazy to boil frozen veggies in a pot” food, but I’ve had a few beverages and I don’t like how poorly lit Charlottesville is.
It’s not that I’m afraid of encountering ne’er-do-wells, it’s just that I live just beyond the boundaries of downtown and I’ve seen more woodland creatures than I did in my life beyond the boundaries of downtown Hampton. Or midtown Newport News. Or the city of Petersburg. Or Hopewell. Or the 40+ blocks that made up my stomping grounds in RVA.
But I digress.
I got to my destination without breaking stride. The traffic gods lined up every crosswalk and traffic signal.
We hopped to several locations.
I had superficial conversations with people I’ll promptly forget.
I got invitations to things everyone will promptly forget in the morning.
I wasn’t wearing the right shoes for any of this. I walked so, so much.
It felt like being in Richmond again.
I’m beginning to feel like it’s a state of mind. I know what I want out of life. And sleeping five hours then working eight hours then traipsing about BECAUSE IT’S FRIDAY is what I want.
Because of my initial work schedule, I couldn’t really do that here until recently. I’ve missed this. I’ve missed this so much.
I can’t wait to have kids because, at the least, whatever my “Friday” is is payback. Oh, you’re tired now? You weren’t tired two days ago when Daddy needed to sleep. Daddy has a thing called spite. He wants to sleep too, but we’ll run around until sunrise until you get the point when you’re 24 and finally understand.
It’s still superficial at the moment, but having a normal weekend is leading to making friendships. I’m a parasite — I tend to become close friends with friends of friends and then the friends of those friends. It sometimes gets weird when I’m in a circle and the person who made it happen is no longer in it. But that’s how I roll. I have a least one friendship where our conversations sometimes fall into “Where is that person who caused us to meet?” or “Wow, our friendship initially was based on how much we pretended to tolerate that person for whatever godawful reason.”
I can do this in Charlottesville. Richmond isn’t some magical place where all my social dreams came true. That wasn’t Richmond itself. I thought it was and, in doing so, I never gave this city a chance.
I don’t know how many days, weeks, months or years I’ll be in this city, but let’s keep doing this, Charlottesville.