Lately, I’ve been wanting to save money here and there and also to start being more active, so the idea to walk to the grocery store when I needed to pick up coffee beans struck me. Save on gas, be a little active, and I do mean walking to the one further away, where there’s better, cheaper coffee, than the store that’s just down the street. This turned out to be a four-mile, two-hour trek. I have blisters the size of nickles on my heels, my legs are rebelling for what I put them through and making me walk like a gimp, and (unrelated) my arm is throbbing since I smashed it on the bathroom counter when I got home. Still? So totally worth it. I need to walk four miles every day more often (and as soon as my body stops groaning about my having done it in the first place).
(Westbrook Market, Westmont IL. They carry a Russian ravioli to DIE FOR, and cheapest coffee in the area)
Aside from feeling like a bawse because my trip to the grocery store also meant finding chicken legs on sale for only a buck (they made an awesome, cheap dinner), I also got a lot of thinking done in those two hours. Most of those thoughts were afforded to the fact that there are a lot of people in this world, and each one of these people have their own stories. The path to the grocery store in question leads me through two miles of residential areas. There’s a school towards the end of the trek, before the quiet suburban streets give way to the more business-minded double-lane streets. Most of the homes are a little on the side of McMansions, but not nearly as much so as if I’d have taken my trek to the otherside of the freeway. Then, there are all the little ethnic shops along the main street, Asian markets, Indian restaurants, African hair braiding. And, of course, Chicago hot dog stands.
I love walking and looking at the these houses and buildings and shops, and it blows my mind to think of how many lives are going on in just this small little section of the earth. How many stories are going on, untold? It makes me think about the house I used to have in Michigan. Do the people who bought it and are living in it now know the stories that went on there? That a man almost died there? About the stereotypical American Dream that was cut short? The alcoholic brother that lived in the basement? Do the people who walk by have any idea? Did we know much about the people who lived there before us? The husband liked woodworking, the wife gardening, they had a daughter who liked the color yellow, but that’s about it. Even looking out my window now, I see at least seven different residential buildings: what stories lurk inside those walls, too?
There’s so many things out there that could inspire us. Sometimes, I feel such a drive to just be inspired by everything, take everything around me, and try to write a story about it. There’d definitely be no lack of material, that’s for sure.
Have you ever been inspired by anything strange or mundane? Does the idea of all the stories out there that you could be missing drive you insane, too? Do you ever glance over toward your neighbor, look at the lawn ornament by their steps or the color of their curtains or the faded lettering on the mailbox and think to yourself, ‘I’m going to make a story out of that’? With over seven billion people in the world, just think of all the stories going untold.
I think about that very thing all the time. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood my entire life and I’ve known most of the people and I’m familiar with how many of the stories have climaxed and closed, but I’m in the dark about most of the exposition, which is seductive because its an invitation to create an alternate series of events. Perhaps the neighbor couple is always fighting because one’s possessed by the devil or smoke coming from the Asian family’s back yard indicates a dragon and not a pit fire.