I started this new thing where I like to go for a walk in the evenings. It’s like a Tylenol PM for my day, a swift end to all activity and a signal to finally settle in. I just started two days ago so I don’t know if it qualifies as a “thing” yet and I’m sure I won’t go the first night it rains, but I’m saying it’s a thing anyway. Last night I did not want to go on my walk because I just wanted to watch bad TV and completely disconnect while eating an entire watermelon with a spoon.
The funny thing about “disconnecting” at night while I watch TV (as so many of us do, right?) is that I don’t disconnect at all. I have the TV (obviously) and my phone and my laptop and any other device with an internet connection running a never-ending stream of interaction with my social world. Electronically, I’m highly connected at a time when I’m supposed to be unwinding and recharging to do it all over again tomorrow. At the same time I’m also completely physically isolated. That’s the weird thing about socializing online, right? It can give you a false sense of human interaction.
So anyway, I’ve decided to start going on these walks at night to try to wean myself off of the warm, intoxicating numbness that is wrapping up every day alone with an army of glowing screens.
I live in Plaza Midwood and it is, in my opinion, Charlotte’s greatest neighborhood. I wanted to live here since the first time my brother drove me down The Plaza six years ago when I was thinking about moving to Charlotte. As I near the end of my lease this fall and the beginning of a new life phase that will probably not involve a renewal in my cool apartment with the killer view, I feel a time-sensitive pressure to get out and enjoy it as much as possible. Another good reason for the walks.
Plaza is an obvious weekend hot spot for a lot of Charlotteans, but on any given Monday night at 8:30pm it buzzes with a different, more subtle energy. Neighbors lined up at Dairy Queen, a mom with her kids on the patio at Fuel Pizza, couples walking their dogs, one lone person getting inked at Charlotte Tattoo Company.
I like to veer off the main Central drag towards the homes on Pecan and Thomas. I guess it probably sounds creepy but I love walking through neighborhoods at night when you can see the houses lit up in rows like giant jack-o’lanterns and silhouettes of the people inside them doing their people-y things. As a long-time apartment dweller, walking past homes at night reminds me of actually being home when I was younger and felt more like I had a sense of place. It feels connected in a fulfilling neighborly way.
I started looking for houses for sale yesterday, most likely spurred by the pop culture knowledge that 17-year-old Kylie Jenner just recently bought her first house. It also might have something to do with some current shifting of sand in my life and a desire to seek some sort of firmly rooted stability to balance it all out.
I don’t see a lot of people when I’m out walking at night. Mostly I see glowing TVs inside adorable little refurbished bungalows and I wonder how cool it would be if everybody else was out walking around or sitting on their porches, waving to their weird voyeuristic neighbors.
I don’t know if it’s actually time for me to buy a house or if Plaza Midwood is the neighborhood but I do know my new nightly walking habit reignites my love for this my favorite hood and reminds me it’s always out there even when I’m inside watching TV.