Having learned how to not let the phone go to sleep, I was eager to get to the intersection today. The timing was good for a change, as the opposing left hand turns were already underway with just a few yards to the walk button. I was gonna be able to push and go, removing the need to take the phone out of my pocket. This would be one smooth operation. I was just two strides away when suddenly a little kid on a bike rolled past me towards the crosswalk button. I had already started reaching out my hand, knowing I’d have to be quick to push the button before the light turned green. The boy looked about seven years old and was accompanied by his mom and sister on their bikes. They were still in the bike lane and he had been sent over to push the button. No way could I spoil his big moment. So I pulled back my hand and gave him some space. Hurry, little boy. You have to push the button before the light changes or we don’t get the walk signal. Hurry. Hurry. Too late. He didn’t make it. He arrived in time, but his windup and follow through left room for improvement. In fact, he never did push the button. The traffic signal turned green, but the red do not cross hand remained. Damn. I’m not pulling the phone out and pausing the stopwatch. No way. I’m going. His mom and sister went with me and he brought up the rear. We had safety in numbers. Had he just pushed the button in time we would have had a nice 28 second countdown. But with only the solid red hand glaring at us, the time remaining to cross was unknown. Still, I think we all cleared the intersection in less than 12 seconds.

The walk wait at the intersection went better today. Once again, I arrived there at the most inopportune moment and had to wait for the entire light cycle. This time I kept pushing virtual buttons and the phone remained in “awake” state. Barely any time was lost in the stopwatch restart process. Further along the walk route the streets border a large open space and if I go early enough in the morning I often see several rabbits. If I go later in the day, I’ll see fewer bunnies but many more lizards. The lizards have this dopey routine where they dart out at you and freeze for a moment, making sure you notice them, before zipping back into the bushes. Today I saw no rabbits and only a couple of lizards, albeit big ones. Guess I was right in between their two viewing opportunity windows. But I did notice a couple of other things. One was little plastic bags of wrapped up dog poop. Yes, folks take the trouble to pick up after their pooch, tying a tight knot in their slow degrading plastic, and then toss the whole thing back onto the ground. I don’t get it. Isn’t this a case where, if you can’t do the right thing, that nothing would be better than something? The other item of note was the current size of the Los Angeles Times newspaper. It’s tiny. Like the size of a folded flyer. Nothing like the enormous editions I wrestled around by bicycle during my early teen home delivery career.

I’ve been walking my 3.5 mile route for a few months now. Off and on. But I’ve become a bit more serious and dedicated recently. I bought some proper shoes and extended the route to 5.1 miles. The longer route includes more elevation gain and loss. This cumulative elevation gain forces me to increase my gravitational potential energy. So the new route is both longer and a better workout. But it includes a major intersection that the shorter route did not. Tens of seconds and sometimes minutes are lost waiting for the intersection signal lights. Because I listen to music on the walk I take my phone. Because I take my phone I use the built-in stopwatch to time each walk regardless if it’s just a leisurely stroll or a concerted effort. But I don’t feel the time lost at the intersection should count against me, nor is it very consistent. So I decided for longer waits there that I’d pause the stopwatch and then restart it once the light changed. Today the wait was gonna be about the maximum it could be. So I pushed the push here to walk button and took my phone out and paused the stopwatch. I kept the phone out and was ready to press the start/resume button. The light changed, I stepped off the curb, and the phone screen lock appeared. Damn. Now I’m crossing the major intersection while swiping the screen and entering my password with one thumb. The cars have all stopped as they should and there are still 24 of 28 seconds remaining on the walk signal. I thumb my password incorrectly. Damn. I’m now halfway across the street and I have to look down again. 18 of 28 seconds left. I’d feel more comfortable looking at the oncoming traffic. Yeah, I know they’ll probably all stop just fine, but I’d like to be observing them instead of peering down at a keypad. And isn’t this just the thing I’d always be telling the kids not to do? So I gave up and waited until I got back on the sidewalk on the other side before further fiddling with the phone. And then later I waited an extra ten seconds at a different corner to try and even out the time.