Story by Janet Miller
Don’t judge me! A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
I’ve been walking the streets of Kaua’i for the last five years. I live three miles mauka of the highway, and there are no sidewalks, so I am forced to do my fitness power walking on the streets until I get down to the bike path.
What did you think I meant?
There are several routes I can take down the mountain. There is the high traffic road, where I take my life in my hands, or actually in my walking shoes. The cars zoom past me close and fast. It’s the thrill route. It is also the one that pays the best. Every time I walk I find at least two coins, mostly pennies.
Just think about it, if I walk four times per week and pick up two cents on each walk, by the end of the year I can treat myself to a new box of band-aids. Why do people throw pennies out their windows anyway?
There’s the scenic route, (but then, every route in Kaua’i is a scenic route). This scenic route takes me past a pig farm, a horse field and at least three trees with ripe fruit falling off of it depending on the season. I’m not too proud to pick up fruit on the side of the road and fill my belly bag. I get home and say, “Look honey, I brought you some mangoes.” Hubby says, “What? Avocados aren’t in season?”
Then there’s the shortcut route that apparently is used by a lot of tradesmen because I always find tools and stuff that bounces out of the back of trucks. I’ve brought home four screwdrivers, a tape measure, an umbrella, six bungee cords and an almost new shovel. True, it slowed me down a bit to carry the shovel all the way home, but it was worth it.
The most exciting thing I’ve learned as a streetwalker is that everyone I know seems to be out driving when I’m walking and they honk their horns as they pass me. To all of my well meaning friends: Your horn is louder than you think. I’ve nearly jumped out in front of your car on numerous occasions because of your greeting. Next time, just wave.
The most interesting thing I’ve learned as a streetwalker is that all the dogs along one of my routes play the same strategic game of hiding quietly until I am right next to their fence, then they charge the fence with all the ferociousness they can muster. The first couple of times I nearly had to go home and change my walking shorts, but now I’m ready for them. I laugh and point out to them that they are behind a fence. I can tell they feel really embarrassed about it then.
The nicest thing I’ve learned as a streetwalker is how sweet and kind the Kaua’i drivers are along the way. Even though I’m dressed in very utilitarian walking clothes, and I have earpods in my ears like a walker would wear, and I’m walking at a pace that is obviously not a casual stroll… I almost always have someone stop and ask me if I need a ride.
Hmmm, maybe I look like I need to be rescued.