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Sunday, March 26, 2000

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Walking around

I wandered around town today by bus and foot just feeling a bit at loose ends. I had a couple things to do but basically I just wandered. First I ended up at a bookstore at the other end of town. I bought a magazine but I stopped mainly because they have a Starbucks and I wanted to just relax over coffee and a scone for a while.

I walked toward Reid Park, by a rather round about way enjoying the neighborhoods on a nice Sunday morning. Sunday mornings are so quiet and peaceful, a great time for a long walk. All the homes seem so peaceful and serene. I wonder what they are really like inside. So much of our lives is hidden away inside.

It's hard to remember that a century or two ago, there was little that was hidden. Even royalty (especially royalty?) lived in a fishbowl. The vast majority of people only had one room and conception, birth and death occurred in full view of everyone. It wasn't till the 18th century that there was much privacy and even this was in full view of the servants, though servants weren't considered to matter. It wasn't till later that you were admonished to not "talk in front of the servants".

Now we know so little about even our friend's private lives. People are always surprised to hear that a "nice" guy beats his wife, or that sweet PTA member is an alcoholic, or that delightful girl is having an affair with her mother's best friend's husband. We are so good at putting on facades in public.

Some role playing is necessary for polite society but much of it is because we want to hide something or don't feel people will really like us if they knew the real us, and sometimes that's true. Now we have two presidential candidates who are nothing but their carefully crafted personas. We have no way of knowing what they are like. Disscussion of issues is fine, but what I want to know is if they tell the truth and whether they care about people. I really need to finish reading that book about Bush and get one on Gore.

They were having a dog show at Reid Park and I walked around smiling at the beautiful and happy dogs. Yes, I think they were happy. They were alert and knew what to do and showed their love for their owners, but it seemed like the really enjoyed competing and the owners were so proud of them. They weren't just using them.

This was such a contradiction to the PETA message of last night. I know that conditions in the egg factories and slaughterhouses are apalling and need to be corrected, even if it means meat and dairy will cost us more, but I don't buy their message that training animals to do things is little more than slavery.

After the dog show I decided to go to the zoo. Zoos are another thing that PETA considers abhorrent and I agree that there have been zoos and still are in places that are terrible. I can remember when the animals had only the tiny boxy cage and looked like prisoners. Now they have large spacious "habitats" and the best of medical care and food plus the love and caring of their tenders." It's not the same as being free but most of these animals would be dead and the species could possibly be extinct if there were no zoos. They had an exhibit showing that zoos get most of their animals from other zoos and they are often the only hope of saving a species. I still feel sad when I see an animal pacing back and forth but the zoos are constantly working at giving the animals interesting and natural activities.

I do feel sorry for the rhinos. They always look so miserable and the water they wallow in is filthy but I understand they don't care. They were happily asleep in the sun and not interested in my pity.

From the zoo I wandered up to Arroyo Chico which is a little wash that runs through the neighborhood north of Reid Park. I walked along the arroyo for a ways, amazed at how much it felt like I was far away in nature. I could hear the traffic but it was muted and the birds were much louder. It's very small but I like to see how much even a bit of nature can have solitude.

On the way home I stopped by an upscale grocery store with organic produce and yummy food. I spend more than I should on some things, but it's worth it once in a while just to enjoy how a grocery store should be. You pay for the ambience.

Once home I finally filled out my Arizona tax return. I've been putting it off for no reason since I owe/get -0- (zero) nothing. That has never happened to me. What the chances of being to the penny on your withholding? I figured I'd better get it done before I forgot.

My feet hurt. I didn't walk that much compared to what I've done other times, but I did a lot of standing around and that always makes my feet, and back, hurt more. Moving seems to keep things from stiffening. It feels good to be sitting down.

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Walked - 4.5 miles

(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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