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Monday, November 21, 2011

Fear No Maze (Nov. 20, 2011)

As paradoxical as it sounds, dead ends can open up a journey. When you’re wandering without a map, meandering for the sheer freedom of taking the least direct way, that’s when the adventure begins.

Four days ago I chose to walk in an older residential neighborhood wedged between the freeway and a canyon. It is comprised of fragments of streets, dead ends and angles that aren’t square-cornered. Lots of potential for discovery.

I’ll admit I did get lost a few times. Well, not truly lost. I knew the general direction in which I’d parked, and I knew that if I roamed the opposite way I’d reach a main road. So, not really lost. Just enough to be exciting. In a neighborhood marked by dead-ends, you really do end up searching every nook and cranny just to find a way out. I was the willing rat, and the cheese wasn’t even finding where I’d parked. The prize was seeing a neighborhood in detail, which you’ll never get through a window of a car going 35.

The only hitch in this excursion was that within the first dozen steps I realized I had to pee. It’s a woman thing. I’d used the potty a half hour before but when it comes to women’s bladders, a half hour is plenty of time for it to fill up again. My adventure was in a residential neighborhood devoid of parks with bathrooms or gas station potties. I decided to ignore my pesky bladder and walk on. The adventure would not be dampened by…uh…bladder issues. At least I hoped it wouldn’t be dampened! At times I jogged but mostly I walked. When I jogged I debated with myself whether jogging actually jostles the full bladder more than walking, making a full bladder feel even fuller. When I walked, I wondered if I should be jogging so as to reach a bathroom faster. A tough dilemma.

Under ordinary circumstances, those neighborhoods not laid out on a grid offer great potential for exploration, as you literally don’t know what is around the next rounded corner. I liked the randomness of my walk. Of course, my bladder was yelling at me with each passing block as I walked in circles, searching for the main road or my truck (either one a means to a bathroom). From above, my path probably looked like a tangled extension cord, knots inside of knots. I still enjoyed my journey but my bladder was fighting with the scenery for my attention.

I admired succulents and studied artistic fences made of metal and wood:

Funky fruit in someone’s front yards (Buddha’s hand):

Unusual eucalyptus tree with a bump on either side, like hips or hands:

A block of condos that looks like a Mondrian painting stretched on a three-dimensional frame:

I explored a serpentine street, wondering about who lived in the houses stacked up the hillsides. Funky country. Creative people.

Someone’s house had a curved purple wall. Love it when people use unexpected paint colors:

I laughed with glee upon discovering a front yard filled with dozens of topiary plants. Was I dreaming? Was I at Disneyland? It was one of the most fun front yards I’d ever seen:

My adventure had been such a success. I’d fulfilled my goal of discovering surprises on my expedition.

And yes, eventually I did pee.

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