Everyday Systems: Podcast : Episode 85

Urban Ranger 2024

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Hi, this is Reinhard from Everyday systems.

Today I’m going to revisit Urban Ranger, my system for making a habit out of regular, mostly purposeful walking. I consider it one of my most important systems. But it was also one of my shortest, so I naively thought it would be one of the easiest systems for me to tackle again. That latter consideration turns out to have been misguided, given that this episode is now over a month late, and looking at the script, it looks like it may wind up being one of my longest episodes yet.

Urban ranger is one of only three individual everyday systems to have its own website. Besides urbanranger.com there are only shovelglove.com and nosdiet.com. All the other systems I’ve lumped into everydaysystems.com. Part of the reason for Urban Ranger’s glorious preeminence as a member of this select triumvirate is just chronological – it’s one of the first three systems I came up with, before I realized I couldn’t afford the registrar fees to keep adding a domain name for every new brain child. But part of it is also a legitimate precedence of importance: I’ve often thought, if I had to pick just one everyday system to practice, Urban Ranger would be it. Besides its intrinsic health and fitness benefits, it’s also the system that helped me come up with most of the other systems, as I’ll explain in a bit.

And yet I haven’t written or spoken that much about it. The entire Urban Ranger site is one short page. And only one of 84 podcast episodes I’ve released so far gives it more than a passing mention. It’s barely a system at all. There are no rules. I describe it as an “inspirational metaphor.” Some of my other systems use inspirational metaphors but that’s all urban ranger is.

And yet, I do think it’s that important. And today I’m going to continue my program of re-visiting all of the original everyday systems as if I’d never discussed them before, as draft chapters for an everyday systems compendium book, with Urban Ranger. In fact you’re going to hear more about it than I’ve ever written about it before. With the No-S diet chapter episode, I had to cut from a gigantic mass of pre-existing material. But today I’m going to expand. In addition to pure inspiration, I’m going to give you some practical tips on systematic, habitual walking, from 20+ years of dedicated experience.

OK, enough with the preamble. Here it is, Urban Ranger 2024:

Olive oil and meditation are bad for you. Have you heard? I’m not even kidding, completely. It’s straight out of that Woody Allan movie where he wakes up in the future and learns that scientists have discovered that cigarettes and red meat are actually good for you.

Olive oil doesn’t exactly cause cancer, but it nudges it along once it’s started, or can in some cases. According to the Harvard Gazette: “A closer look at cancer has implicated oleic acid, a key component of olive oil, in the progression of the disease from the original tumor to distant organs, or metastasis.”

To be fair, the article then goes on to list so many caveats about the precise circumstances in which this might or might not actually be an issue for some people that I am frankly unable to determine if there is anything anyone should ever actually be worried about here at all.

But still, Olive Oil, the Holy of Holies, the Blessed Extra Virgin, the mainstay of the Mediterranean diet, the pillar of wellness: in some sense, under some circumstances, it’s maybe bad for you.

And meditation, too, that other great pillar of wellness, can apparently have side effects in some people that are extremely unpleasant. They meditate too much and then can’t turn it off. I didn’t think this was possible, given how much Buddhist monks, for example, meditate and what beautiful MRI images their brains give off. But apparently not everyone is cut out for it. Some people, if they meditate too much, lose their sense of self and not in a good way, they dissociate, not while they’re meditating but afterwards at random times of the day. And apparently it’s not that uncommon. I was shocked to learn this recently. And again, this isn’t some wackadoodle fringe claim. The meditation research center at Massachusetts General Hospital, among others, has reported observing these effects.

Why am mentioning these things? Not to rag on olive oil which I love and will continue to consume in ample quantities, or on meditation, which after years of frustrating struggles with I’ve finally come to experience as valuable, but as examples that everything that has ever been touted as good and healthy, will eventually be revealed to have something wrong with it.

Everything–except for one: walking.

Everybody loves walking. At least in theory. Everyone. There is no anti-walking camp. There is not even an anti walking lone actor. I have never heard the slightest whisper of a rumor of a hint of even the remotest possibility that there is anything less than great about walking. Not one article, not even with however many layers of carefully worded caveats. It’s even more bullet proof than olive oil or meditation. Everybody agrees we should do it. There are no downsides or dangers. It costs nothing. It requires nothing. It is ridiculously good for you.

With any other kind of exercise, if you get injured, and you will, eventually, you can’t do it anymore, at the very least you have to take a break. This happened to me with running. It even happened to me after 20 years with shovelglove, for a while at least. With walking, it’s not impossible for an injury to prevent you from doing it, but it’s much less likely, and even less likely that it would prevent you completely.

And yet, we don’t walk. Not really, not nearly enough, most of us. According to a massive study of global cell phone pedometer data in 2017, the average American gets a little under 5 thousand steps a day, less than half of the somewhat arbitrary 10,000 steps that tends to be recommended, and about a third of the steps we actually got before industrialization, extrapolating from another study done on the old order Amish. In that study, Amish men averaged about 18,000 steps a day and Amish women about 14000. The only day either sex averaged less than 10,000 was on the Sabbath, the day of rest. So for the rest of America, today, as far as walking is concerned, it’s like we’re on a permanent sabbatical. And the rest of the world isn’t much better. In some places it’s even worse.

You would think that the fact that we now have literally billions of pedometers airdropped all over the world – not just smartwatches and wearable fitness trackers, but pretty much every smartphone, that this would have made some measurable impact on average step counts, that it would have given people a slight nudge. And no question, for some individuals it’s certainly been very helpful, myself included. But on average, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The one scenario in which we should be paying more attention to our phones, and we blow them off.

Step counts have apparently declined even further since the study I mentioned above. It’s like there’s been a long covid of laziness we still haven’t recovered from.

So, why? Why don’t we do this incredibly easy, incredibly good for us, incredibly safe, natural, useful, actually rather pleasant thing that costs no money and that even our wicked smartphones are urging us to do? Why do we prefer to throw vast sums of money at gym memberships and exercise equipment and scammy apps we love to talk about and then don’t use?

One possible explanation is sheer laziness, the eternal and shared reason we avoid any kind of exertion. But that’s less applicable for walking than it is for other activities. Walking is not that hard. Compared to any other form of exercise, it’s actually pretty good on that front. Laziness should make it (relatively) more appealing. If you are lazy, and contemplating doing any kind of exercise, walking should be at the top of your list.

The reason you, right now, listening to this are probably not walking as much as you should, is that walking has a problem distinct from all other forms of exercise, walking has an image problem–two intertwined image problems.

The first problem is tied in to something that used to be a major selling point: in the old days, walking was seen as useful. It got you somewhere you had to go or wanted to go. Of all exertions it was the most useful, or at least the most generally useful. The butcher and the baker and the candlestick maker, whatever their professions, whatever they did, all had to get somewhere to do it, and for most people, for most of history, that meant walking.

But that’s not the case anymore, or not nearly to the degree that it was before cars and ubers and zoom meetings. Walking is still a little useful, sometimes. But compared with other forms of locomotion, or zooming non locomotion, it feels inefficient, a waste of time, almost self-indulgent. So that big selling point, and the main reason our ancestors were so into it, is no longer very compelling.

Now no exercise, these days, is very useful. But with walking the apparent delta between its former utility and current lack of it is great and bothers us.

And other, more intensive forms of exercise are at least time efficient. If you’ve got 30 minutes to spare and want to optimize the exercise potential of that precious scrap of time, why not do something that gets you closer to your VO2 max? It may be horrible but at least you’ll get it over with quickly.

So walking now seems inefficient both as locomotion and as exercise. It’s doubly useless. It’s gone from the best to the worst on the utility scale, at least in our perception.

Walking’s second image problem is even more of an obstacle: it’s just not that exciting. Sure it’s easy and everybody agrees that it is right, but that’s precisely the problem. It’s too easy. It’s too uncontroversial. It’s boring. There’s no drama. It’s not badass or hardcore. It doesn’t stir the imagination. Unlike gym memberships and fancy exercise equipment, or even DIY manual labor roleplaying routines involving sledgehammers it’s hard to get fired up about. That may seem like a silly reason, especially since “exciting” isn’t actually sufficient to get us to follow through consistently with these other, flashier forms of exercise, either (with one possible exception). But humans are silly creatures, and we find equal and opposite reasons not to do the various things we should do.

Enter Urban Ranger, what I like to call an inspirational metaphor that addresses these two obstacles against walking head on, and makes walking seem both useful again and ass-kickingly exciting. Unlike the other Everyday Systems, Urban Ranger is not a bunch of rules. Rather, it’s a persona, an identity, an alter ego you put on. It’s a way of re-imagining yourself so that walking becomes the most important, the most exciting thing that you could possibly be doing. It’s a mode of being. That may sound excessive, but if you're like me, that's what it's going to take to get you walking at all.

A few years ago some friends of ours, native Vermonters, taught me and my kids to ski. We started on the bunny slope, and my youngest, maybe 8 at the time, was very frustrated. He kept falling, it just wasn't clicking. He was getting cranky. Then during a cocoa break my wise friend said to him NOT what I would have said ("hey, nice try, let's go home!") but "this looks too easy for you. Do you want to try mid-mountain?" My son's eyes lit up. And by the end of the day he was at the top of the mountain.

The point is, sometimes we have to make a problem bigger, grander for it to be sufficiently inspiring -- the opposite of what you would think and the opposite of "moderation." And that’s exactly what we’re doing with Urban Ranger, taking this “bunny hill” activity, in most people’s minds, something that’s so easy that we can’t be bothered to succeed at it, and moving it to the top of the mountain.

The website starts with a poem. Poetry is an unusual self-help device, but friends, that’s what it’s going to take to effect this transformation:

The Song of the Urban Ranger

I am an urban ranger,

I walk, it's what I do.

The city is my wilderness,

Sky scrapers are my trees.

I hang my thoughts on lamp posts,

And park my dreams in metered spots.

I populate the empty lots

With my good ghosts,

And invest the pavement

with diamond recollections.

Exertions are my exercise,

My labors for effect.

I walk to go and go to walk.

I walk to work and work that I might walk.

I walk to dream up orders

For my servile sitting self.

No stagnant sedentary thoughts

Shall rule this life.

But who knows what's for what.

I sure walk a hell of a lot.

On the website, I have some self-deprecating language about the poem, but that was from before I’d been doing this for 20 years, and the transformation it effected is now so complete that I refuse to be embarrassed by it. It did the job for me, and in that sense, it is the perfect exemplar of its genre: the genre of exercise poetry.

When I composed it, I hadn’t yet come up with Mantrafication, the Everyday System of recording periodically updated exhortations for oneself and listening to them daily, and by the time I had, Urban Ranger was so deeply ingrained with me that there was no point. But if I were just starting out now, I think I might just mantrafy this “song” or something like it, record something earnestly ridiculous to play back to myself every morning to good humoredly psyche me up and gently shame me into following through.

I’m going to go through it now line by line, do a close reading, an explication du texte, both as a motivational exercise, and because the core principles of urban ranger are all embedded in there.

“I am an urban ranger” – In line one, we take on the alter ego. Urban ranger turns you into a sort of superhero of walking. That’s your new identity. You might think, “I’ve heard of spiderman and I’ve heard of superman but I’ve never heard of walker man.” Actually, you may have. Remember Strider from the Lord of the Rings. That’s what his name means, pretty much. And walking really was his super power. Tolkien didn’t call him Sworder or Runner or Leader or anything else. He was also very good at those things, but it was walking, rapidly and mindfully over great distances that was his defining trait and skill – even a lethal skill.

A lethal skill? This isn’t just poetic exaggeration. Consider how much of warfare throughout the ages, and not just in Middle-Earth, has involved getting somewhere before your enemies, doing the reconnaissance, seizing the high ground, cutting them off: to outpace your enemies, to outknow them, to outposition them. It’s like the military version of the famous Woody Allen quote, “80% of success is showing up.”

We think of military marching as something for show, for bands and parades but historically the marching aka walking part was as integral to warfare as actual battle. And it was in itself quite deadly. It was so strenuous that men routinely, literally dropped dead from sheer exhaustion. Alexander the Great’s army walked from Greece to India. Try to wrap your head around that. Napoleon’s army walked from Paris to Moscow – and back, the few who made it.

So breathe that in. Walking is not some tired, inoffensive half-exercise.Walking is dangerous. Walking is deadly. And you, Urban Ranger, are the paragon of it.

“I walk, it’s what I do” – for the urban ranger, walking is our defining activity. We may be a butcher, an baker, a candle stick maker, or maybe these days a graphic designer or a project manager, but more fundamentally, we are walkers.

“The city is my wilderness” – it’s not just us who get an alter ego, but our whole environment. It’s like we go into the upside down, in Stranger Things, except in a good way. Or maybe it’s our non-walking world that’s the upside down, and when we walk, we finally escape it. Our eyes are open to a new reality. Because urban ranger isn’t just about the physical exertion, it’s about opening our minds and perceptions.

I hang my thoughts on lamposts

I park my dreams in metered spots

In my episodes on the study habit I’ve talked about eureka time, those times when you’re neither focused nor distracted, like when you’re in the shower, and ideas just come to you. Walking is the ultimate eureka time. The physical activity and the sense of getting somewhere, of purpose underway, allow the “must be doing something useful” part of your mind to relax, and make it open and playful and receptive to new ideas.

Nietzsche wrote: “Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value.” This isn’t just a nice side benefit, a bonus. It’s hugely important: “thoughts that have any value.” If walking did nothing else for you, if it had zero exercise benefit, this alone would be reason enough to do it.

These thoughts don’t have to be brilliant inspirations for coming up with new systems. They can be about interpersonal relations you’ve been having trouble with, work tasks you’re feeling stuck on.

And not only will you have such thoughts while walking, but as the poem repeatedly points out, you will retain them better by associating them with your surroundings.

I often bring a digital audio reorder with me to capture any eureka thoughts I might have, part of the audiodidact system I’ve described elsewhere. But you may not even need to.

Because our minds have a strong sense of place. The fact that walking takes you to and by and through places anchors your thoughts to those places, making them more permanent. I’ve often been amazed at how when I remember a thought I had while walking, I remember not just the thought itself, but where I was and what I was looking at when I had it. If I hadn’t been walking, if I hadn’t had those places to anchor my thoughts to, I’m not sure I would have remembered any of it.

There is a mnemonic technique called the “memory palace” that goes back to ancient times that is built on the power of spatial memory. Cicero, apparently, used it to memorize his orations, and it’s still used today by so-called memory athletes for stunts like memorizing hundreds of digits of pi. It works like this: say you are trying to memorize something like a speech or a presentation. You then visualize walking through a familiar place and associate every idea or term you want to remember with a specific place in a specific order. It’s actually incredible what some people are able to achieve by tapping into their spatial memory like this.

I’ve never methodically attempted to build a memory palace, but when you take a walk, you get a little of it for free. It’s like you’re bookmarking your thoughts with the places you see. Your thoughts just naturally, automatically associate with them.

The story of how this memory palace technique was invented is fantastic. It’s just too good for me not to digress for a moment. It goes like this: Simonides, an ancient Greek lyric poet, was invited to a banquet. During the banquet, there was a terrible earthquake, and the ceiling collapsed. Simonides was pulled out unharmed from the rubble, but everyone else was dead. Who had even been there? His rescuers asked him. To his surprise he could remember not only the identities of everyone there but also the precise positions where they had been sitting.

Being of a philosophical disposition, he wasn’t like “this is terrible, all my friends are dead” but “Eureka! I have discovered a strange quirk of the human mind, that it has this incredible ability to recall things associated with places,” and went on to develop this insight into a system for memorizing poems, philosophical tracts and orations. The other foundational principle of that system is that striking images (say, an earthquake that kills everyone around you) are also very helpful in cementing memories.

But back to our own poem:

Exertions are my exercise,

My labors for effect.

I walk to go and go to walk.

I walk to work and work that I might walk.

Here’s where we come to the utility part. We reaffirm that walking is useful, a useful exertion, not a mere pointless exercise. And we go further, we flip it so that this exertion is simultaneously as important as an end as any instrumental value it might have. It gets us somewhere, that’s good, but the somewhere it gets us is also an excuse to walk, which is even better. All our goals, all our destinations, become pretexts to walk.

I walk to dream up orders

For my servile sitting self.

No stagnant sedentary thoughts

Shall rule this life.

Here we inject a serious note of badass. Walking isn’t just exercise. It isn’t just a nice activity. It isn’t even just an end in itself. We’d just exalted it to that, the previous couple of verses, and that seemed like an elevation at the time. But now we’re promoting it even further. Walking is the command and control center. It’s how we come up with all our other ends. We think better when we walk and that’s nice not just for eureka thoughts, random serendipitous asides, but for the fundamental project of ordering our lives. Walking makes us the boss. Walking puts us into boss mode–not in an obnoxious way, lording it over other people, but in a girding our loins, taking responsibility for our own lives kind of way. Strider, Aragorn, was a king, after all.

But who knows what's for what.

I sure walk a hell of a lot.

The last two lines bring us down to earth again. A note of humility, a note of self-deprecating humor about all the grandstanding it's taking to get us off our asses, a reminder that the important thing is not all our elaborate rationalizations but what they (hopefully) get us to do.

OK, so, now that you are undoubtedly psyched up and raring to go, now what? We got walking’s image problem out of the way, the hard part, now how do we actually, consistently do it? This problem may not be quite as hard, but it’s also necessary to address somehow, and I didn’t go into it much at all on the website. Truly, it is vastly less important than the psyching oneself up part, because a properly psyched up Urban Ranger will find a way to walk, whatever the obstacles, but still, let’s consider it.

There are two practical metrics I use to keep me on track with urban ranger: the first is to ask myself every day, did I take a semi-substantial outdoor walk today? I track that on my personal punch cards and transfer to my life log spreadsheet weekly. I’ll tell you how I define semi-substantial in a moment. The second metric is step count, which my fitbit tracks for me. It’s good to have multiple metrics because any metric on its own is imperfect and gameable. When you use multiple metrics you can triangulate reality better and make it harder to “juke the stats.”

In terms of the first metric, the semi substantial outdoor walk, there are two ways for an activity to quality for this: actually useful walks and pointless walks.

The best thing, that I’ve done whenever at all possible, is to build useful walking into your life as part of your regular routines. If I could walk to work or to run an errand instead of driving or taking public transportation, I’ve always done so. If I could take the stairs instead of the elevator, without it being some weird performative thing for people I’m with, I’ve done that – I call it vertical urban ranger. If I’m going somewhere too far to walk all the way, I practice distance parking and walk at least some stretch of the distance if at all possible. Sometimes this even saves me time because I spend less time circling for a spot. That’s the gold standard: actually useful walking integrated into your regular routines. Because then automatically, all the time, you’re walking. It’s not something you have to put on your todo list, other activities will make it happen.

But that “gold standard” isn’t always possible or sufficient, depending on your life and job circumstances. You sometimes at least have to supplement with silver or bronze.

Intentional “pointless” walks, with no goal or errand at the end of it, in themselves, on an individual walk basis, are great, maybe even better than utilitarian walks, I don’t want to knock these, especially in a non-urban setting. Honestly I’d much prefer to walk in nature with actual trees etc. than have to imagine them. But depending on where you live, it can be a production to make such an excursion happen. Jumping on the commuter rail to get to a hiking trail is so worth it when you can, but it’s a substantial time commitment, and harder to make the backbone of your routine. You can think of walks like these as platinum, maybe, even better than gold. But they’re likely going to be rare enough, that they probably shouldn’t be your priority in terms of habit engineering.

Most pointless walking, not in beautiful natural surroundings, has no qualitative advantage over useful walking, and is harder to make happen since there isn’t the pull of some primary goal to carry you alone. So I’ll call these “silver” as opposed to “gold.”

That being said, silver “pointless” walks can be a great supplement, and if you absolutely can’t walk anywhere useful, you really have no other choice. One practical way I’ve found to squeeze these in is to use the same technique I do for shovelglove and other routines: schedualistically insignificant time aka Timebox Lord. I set a timer for 14 minutes and get out and walk till it rings. More precisely I usually set it for just 7 minutes and then head back after then, for a total of 14 minutes.

Every day I keep track of whether I’ve gotten an outdoor walk of some sort in, by whatever means, useful or pointless, gold or silver (or platinum), timed or untimed. I mark it on my daily punch card and then tally it up at the end of the week. I almost always manage one or the other every day.

Then we come to bronze: indoor walking or microwalks outside maybe that aren’t even 14 minutes. An example: during lockdowns, and extended fully remote periods when we had nowhere to go, my teenage daughter pioneered (in our family at least) a technique she called table pacing. This is pacing rapidly around the dining room table to rack up a higher step count on your activity tracker. It isn’t glorious. It is slightly ridiculous. But it’s still walking. It’s exercise. It’s steps. I don’t propose doing nothing buy table pacing or equivalent, just pacing around the house instead of going outside and getting somewhere, but it’s a good tool to have in your arsenal, and at times in your life maybe an important tool.

I’m often ambivalent about technology, but one development I feel unreservedly positive about is step trackers. They give you credit for every little scrap of activity. Table pacing, for example, would be just as good for you without a step tracker, but it would never in a million years occur to you to do it. Trackers can be a great motivator. Instead of waiting for some extended block of time that may never come to exercise, you can opportunistically grab whatever little moments come to you and get credit for your microwalks. Don’t fuss over what a “step” really means and how accurate they are, they’re accurate enough, they give some rough signal of activity, and the important thing about the “steps” they track is that they are points, by recording activity, however imperfectly, they gamify and motivate it.

Step trackers help with every kind of walking, platinum, gold, silver and bronze. But they help most with bronze. Bronze would barely exist without step counters. But with them, bronze can become a significant category. Maybe even your most significant category, at least sometimes. There’s a lot of bronze that can be extracted from the nooks and crannies of our lives.

My fitbit also tracks sleep, and again, I don’t know how accurate it is, I know it often thinks I’m asleep when I’m lying in bed watching tv, but, big picture, it helps motivate me to add a few minutes here and there when possible, nudges me away from burning too much midnight oil, and reassures me, when I’ve had a bad night, that I probably got something, more than it felt like, and helps me get on with my life.

So what does an urban ranger get in terms of step counts? And what should one aim for? As you know if you’ve listened to this podcast for a while, I am a big fan of arbitrary numbers. If they are about right, not too arbitrary, and have a nice ring to them, they can be great motivational tools. 10,000 is honestly pretty great. Yes, it’s less than our laboring ancestors got, but it’s close-ish, and it’s attainable for most of us. If 10,000 feels like a lot, as it might be given that most people currently get about half that, pick another number to start, you can always raise it. More important than a target number is to track and be aware of your actual numbers over time. Are they going up or down, month by month, year by year? When they get to a good level, are they staying there? Fitbit lets you bulk download your data and I do this weekly for selective transfer into my lifelog spreadsheet. As with all the numbers I track in my lifelog, I use conditional formatting to create a color scale to make better numbers greener and worse numbers redder so they pop out. The ends of the scale are usually determined by my own past performance, so most of the time I’m competing against myself, rather than against some arbitrary goal. If I do set a hard value for the scale, I base it on my previous numbers at least, so I’m not pulling something unattainable out of thin air. Sometimes I’ll even make my goal less than what I’ve achieved in the past because I know it wasn’t a repeatable performance and I don’t want an outlier achievement to discourage me going forward because now nothing I do is ever going to merit green again.

So how am I personally, the original urban ranger, doing? According to fitbit, I’ve averaged a little over 12 thousand steps a day since I started using it in 2018, pretty consistently from year to year. My best year ever was 2019, with a little over 14,000 steps. That was back in a brief phase when I could run without continually injuring myself, so that likely had something to do with it. My worst year was 2022, my fully remote year, when I was a little under 12 thousand steps – took a lot of silver and bronze to hit that.

The most steps I’ve ever gotten in a single day is a little over 30,000, on two occasions, both on visits to New York City, where I grew up.

So all in all, I’m a little behind an Amish housewife (they averaged 14000, versus 18000 for the men). I think that’s some pretty badass company.

If you are far from that, don’t be discouraged. This isn’t about competing with Amish housewives or me or nerd superheroes from Lord of the Rings. Remember C.S Lewis’s VC cat. 3000 steps may be as hard a goal for you to attain as 10,000 is for a “normal,” “healthy,” “fit” individual. But that also means it’s just as glorious, maybe even more glorious. You are competing, if competing is even the right word, with yourself, with all your personal limitations factored in. Don’t bemoan that you aren’t a different self, with different challenges. Take up the challenge that has been presented to you. You are not a lesser urban ranger. You are exactly who urban ranger is for.

Speaking of challenges, one of the most helpful things about the urban ranger metaphor is how it can psych you up to overcome them. Is it raining? Is it hot? Are your surroundings uninspiring? What would Strider do? He wouldn’t say: “Oh this is Mordor, this is not a pleasant place to walk, forget it.” Or “Oh, you’re just a sad little hobbit, forget it.”

No friends, hobbits and other demihumans included, we are to walk on – in the heat, in the rain, by the really ugly gas station, and yes, around the dining room table. We are urban rangers. We walk, it’s what we do.

That’s all for today. Thanks for listening.

By Reinhard Engels

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