Taking my brain for a walk
There are many reasons that compel me to take a walk on any given day.
1. It’s a beautiful day.
2. Groceries are low.
3. It’s good for me.
But today I took a walk for a different reason. My brain was full.
That’s right, overflowing.
Sometimes there are so many thoughts swirling in my head that staying indoors – staying still – is inviting a grey-matter meltdown.
A large portion of my brain is currently dedicated to finding work, which is basically a full-time job without pay or benefits. This sometimes causes high anxiety that seriously impacts my logical and whimsical zones. As I feel the tension rise, I slip into my tennis shoes and head out the door.
Once outside, the sounds of birds, the smell of trees and the sight of fluffy white clouds invade my head and turn the swirling whirlpool of chaos into a manageable river of thoughts that I can wade through safely.
It’s amazing just how much better I feel when the sunlight hits my face and arms, and begins to warm up my T-shirt and jeans.
My neighborhood, a five-minute walk from the L.A. city limit, is a mix of old and new. I have lived here slightly more than two months and love to explore on foot. Today’s walk includes a trek to the library and a stop at a big-box book store to browse.
I take new streets, less popular streets and have the sidewalks all to myself. The trees have dropped most of their leaves and my inner child loves to shuffle through the mini piles. Ahead a shop keeper is sweeping the leaves into a mega pile and putting them in the trash. My inner child is appalled.
Most of the traffic lights are with me and I only have to stop to push the crosswalk button twice. I wonder if I keep pushing the button will the light change faster. I see pedestrians across the street from me also pushing the button, and ponder if our combined effort will make the light change even faster.
We continue to wait and it dawns on me, I haven’t thought about work for an entire 10 minutes. It’s when I’m still and my brain doesn’t have to think about walking and talking that is has time to worry. I push the crosswalk button again. The light finally changes and … we’re walking.
The good and bad thing about walks is there’s a lot to see. The old Masonic Temple on Brand Boulevard comes into view long before I reach the intersection. It’s the tallest and whitest thing on the corner. It’s under construction and has a long silver duct spout for workmen to toss out trash.
I wonder if a person could fit down the shaft, could they survive the fall from five stories high – why would they try? I recall my grandpa was a member of some Masonic order and then think about the movie “National Treasure.” Was there a clue in the building that would lead me on some adventure? I think that guy ahead of me is a hipster.
There are times when I am so engrossed in ornate window moldings and skinny jeans that I don’t see the rise in the sidewalk and the next thing I know I’m stumbling and looking around for the ghost who tripped me.
It never fails after stumbling that I tend to look more at the ground. Thankfully, there’s plenty to see down low, too. I’m not sure if it’s in every city, but several Southern California towns have plaques in their sidewalks. Some are decorative, some informative, all are shiny.
The whimsical section of my brain starts to think about shiny sidewalks and is suddenly pondering the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It recalls that singer/producer Pharrell had recently received a star, along with director Peter Jackson.
Then it’s off to the races as my brain cycles through favorite actors, actresses and radio personalities who have stars on the Walk of Fame. My logic side interrupts for a moment to point out that I have missed my street and need to turn at the next light. (It’s helpful like that.) It also points out that several of my favorite actors do not have stars on the Walk of Fame. (It’s annoying like that.)
Suddenly Whimsy and Logic are conversing over who deserves a star and if stars are necessary and the randomness of it all. When they have exhausted all avenues, there is just one thing left. Go home and Google.
Luckily the Walk of Fame has a website and helpful people to answer all your random questions, like, “How do you pick people to get stars? Can anyone nominate anyone?”
I received my answer the same day in a very nice email with links.
Basically, yes, anyone can nominate anyone for a star. It’s a pretty simple process:
1. Fill out the form before the deadline date.
2. Secure a letter of acceptance from the nominee.
3. Come up with $30,000 for the ceremony and maintenance.
4. Attend the ceremony.
While the second step could get complicated and result in restraining orders, it’s No. 3 causing the most trouble. It’s unclear who comes up with the money, but I figure it’s one of those if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it moments.
Logic also pointed out that I had enjoyed watching these actors for years sans star and that there was no need to anticipate a change in attitude. (It’s smart like that.)
And it was right about then that I realized I had a very good day. My brain had been cleared of clutter and was having fun. There were still things to do, but the chaos was replaced by calm.