Saturday, April 08, 2006


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A view of London from the top of Parliament Hill in the Hampstead Heath.

A lot of people find jogging--and joggers--boring, but I've always been fortunate enough to jog in some of the most amazing places in the world and, in a sense, have felt more connected to them by doing so.

As Guy Browning, one of my favorite Guardian columnists wrote:
"Jogging, like heavy metal, becomes interesting only when done at an intensity that threatens to burst something vital to the body."

I was reflecting on that just this morning, as I nearly choked on the crisp, chilly air like an emphysema patient with a clogged voice box. Now I have suffered a lack of cardiovascualr activities in recent times, but in this case I was making a fighting effort to tackle a very steep hill. Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath to be exact, where you can view all of London--including the Gherkin and the London Eye.

I haven't properly jogged since I lived in Santa Cruz, where, in just under five minutes, I could reach a beach with a Coney Island-style boardwalk to the right of me, and a yacht harbor complete with light house to the left. Just before that, I was living near Capitol Hill; in 10 minutes of jogging I could reach the Washington Monument, running along the Reflecting Pool and culminating in a visit to ole Honest Abe.

But I reckon that most people, even those living in the most gentrified mess of tract-home hell that is suburbia, can find a sense of pride and connectedness with their surroundings by simply putting their feet to the pavement and roaming free. The mundane can become active and alive; the foreign and unfamiliar becomes your playground.


Angleton said...

On a number of telephone poles in east Austin you find the hand written statement "Stop the gentrifying of east Austin." Now I find the same or similiar phrase in your blog.(gentrified mess of tract-home hell that is suburbia)

Most of the houses in east Austin that have not been gentrified are run down slums. Most of the people I know living in slums would love to live in gentrified mess of tract-home hell that is suburbia. Most of the people in the world would give their souls to live there. So what is your real point? Are you perhaps saying people living in gentrified mess of tract-home hell that is suburbia are not intellectually or culturally gifted as urban dwellers with potted geraniums on their mini-porches. London is a fine old city and I should emphasize the word "old," as a working plumbing system is still a good generation away, especially in the council estates I have visited. I have had the honor of reading Sterne too and listening to Mahler and I still prefer the gentrified mess of tract-home hell that is suburbia. Have a great day. And who are those homosexuals trying to get into your space?

amityelektra said...
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