Walking Everywhere, and Anywhere!

Every now and then I will update this blog with thoughts about walking, and being a pedestrian in Southern California. As of 2014, this blog will also be featuring posts about my bicycle adventures around Southern California.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Novel With Pedestrian Characters

Usually the characters of a novel are considered to be a bit boring if they are described as "pedestrian," but the leading lady and man in my story are pedestrians who travel on foot, and this mode of transportation can be quite exciting.  Why is walking, biking, or taking the bus seen as a lack of independence in the United States?  On many programs I hear people complain about how they had to drive an adult friend or family member around town, but they never thought of getting that person a bike, or showing them how to read a transit map.  Actually, being a pedestrian means you have to be very good with directions, and there is no room for error.  When you are riding the bus in Los Angeles you definitely have to be good with directions, and I have family members who love to drive that call me on how to get places.

So even though the majority of people want to drive, there are always going to be people who prefer to walk.  Many people in New York take public transit and walk all the time, and I have always thought that city's emphasis walkablity was a good thing.

If you decide to walk or bike people always ask why, but they never consider to think you just see no point to driving.  Maybe some day the falsehood that people cannot get around without a car will fade away, and I know fellow pedestrians probably get tired of people always asking when they are going to get their driver's license.  After a certain age people will finally stop asking that question, but sometimes people without have do have driver's licenses and just prefer walking over driving.  I can walk three miles in about forty minutes, so for me this is the perfect workout.  I do not have to pay for a car maintenance or a gym membership, so walking is the way to travel for me.

In many novels we have characters working on their cars or talking about their cars, but rarely do we have characters who abandon their cars in favor of walking.  My novel is not all about pedestrians in general, but I felt I wanted to write about characters I could identify with.  I remember years ago meeting one guy who said I needed to drive so he could have something to talk with me about, and then I no longer wanted to talk with him.  I have no interest in cars beyond the fact these are devices that get people places, and I know a lot of people who drive that feel the same way.  Not everyone is excited by a flashy ride, and I felt it was about time to have two leading characters that also feel this way.


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