Often on weekends, I choose to greedily fritter away my afternoon hours by exploring the city I live in. I walk alone, sit in parks alone, sometimes read a book, draw, or sit in a cafe and enjoy a coffee. I do it more in the warm months, but walking with a sense of selfish purpose in the winter can be solitary in a way I love too.
I’ve often noticed the way some people look at you when you’re alone and walking without a sense of purpose. Usually they look a little confused as to why you are doing it, or what you are up to, and on occasion they read it as you are an open invitation to anyone who wants to look at or talk to you.
I find it interesting that it is easy to tell that a person has somewhere to go. It says a lot about the things we don’t do whenever we’re in a hurry, worried about our destination or the person waiting at the other end of our short journey. While I don’t believe that people truly develop tunnel vision as they go about their day-to-day affairs, it’s hard to really memorize that one structural defect in the cathedral you’re walking past when you’re five minutes late to lunch.
While I sometimes find that point of recognition on the part of others to be irritating, it’s not completely off base. As I get a text from a friend and realize that my plans may take on less solitary developments for the evening, my own stride changes, my powers of observation fall out of focus and suddenly no one really notices.