Even though I’m on vacation, I’ve been keeping up, more or less, with my exercise routine. I’ve had to reschedule a few runs, but I’ve been running a few days a week and walking in between. Yesterday was a running day — oh, how I have NOT missed the combination of humidity and hills provided by the mid-Atlantic — so I went for a walk today. Dan, Benjamin and Liam joined me. We walked for an hour, starting at my mom’s house, through some very cute and moderately upscale residential neighborhoods, past dozens of homes, several businesses and one high school.
And, in that hour, we saw exactly 3 people.
We didn’t see a single person out walking a dog. We didn’t see a single person out for a run. We didn’t see a single mom walking with a stroller. We didn’t see a single child playing in the yard. We pretty much didn’t see anyone. (Of the 3 people we did see, two were running leaf blowers outside of a fancy house and one was a young guy mowing a lawn. That was it. And we didn’t see the first of them until over 25 minutes through our walk.)
It was really weird. Almost Twilight Zone-ish. Where was everyone?
I don’t know for sure, but I think they were all at work, and the kids are at daycare or camp. If anyone was at home (it didn’t look like it) I guess they were inside. It’s really different for us. In Vienna, we live in the very heart of the city. We would likely see 3 people out and about before we left the courtyard of our building. We walk past a grocery store, a restaurant and a few shops before we even leave our block. The only way we could walk for an hour from our front door and not run in to anyone would be if it was Christmas Day (and really, not even then).
It’s just a very different way of life. Here, many, if not most, families have two incomes, and the kids spend the days at daycare, school or camp (since it’s summer). People mostly don’t work near where they live. Public transportation isn’t as readily accessible (although it’s not like we saw a lot of cars, either), and you don’t encounter fun public playgrounds every few blocks.
Even understanding the differences, though, I don’t really understand the COMPLETE lack of humanity we encountered on our journey. No one walks their dog? Not a single stay-at-home mom out for a morning walk? Really?!? I’ve never felt so isolated surrounded by so many signs of luxurious human habitation. It was weird.