Neighborhood Constitutional

 

Every day, my husband and I go for a walk around our neighborhood. We’ve been walking arm and arm since I fell and sprained my ankle a couple of years ago. I imagine the people we pass think of us as a nice old couple taking their daily constitutional.

But maybe they overhear us talking about what he’s watched on Fox or what I’ve read on Ricochet and narrow their eyes and think, ENEMIES OF THE STATE!

We walk in the morning sometimes, sometimes in the evening, usually passing the same people, petting the same dogs, giving a nod or a “good morning” or a “good evening” as we pass, chatting with the elderly lady who sits on her porch eager for a little human contact. We feel like we know these folks and they know us, though we’ve never formally met.

And though we don’t know their politics, and they don’t know ours. When it’s time for the forced roundup of deplorables, will these folks we greet with a smile be grinning about our horrible fate? Telling themselves, “I always knew there was something off about them”? Thinking, “Geez, I hope nobody knows I let that lady pet my dog”?

On our constitutionals, we see children playing and people working in their yards. We see squirrels and birds enjoying the many leafy trees. A couple of times, we’ve seen a deer on our strolls. Howdy, wild neighbor! Please don’t try to jump that fence and cross the highway, baby! Maybe animal control can help you find your way home. 

You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say, the ones that rolled their eyes at people expressing anger about gender education at the school board meeting, the ones who probably got the statue of Columbus taken down from in front of the high school (and granted, it was a weird-looking statue, but I don’t think that’s why it went away).

Of course, we have been attacked a couple of times on our constitutional. Once a lady sprayed us with a hose, but I’m pretty sure that was an accident. Another time, a very enthusiastic puppy bolted across the street and jumped all over me. I got a few scratches, but puppies gonna puppy, what can you do? There’s a dog that barks at us if we come near, and another that barks if I stop with the petting. But mostly, it’s peace and quiet and birdsong and jumping over puddles made by someone draining their pool.

Sometimes as we walk, I think this is all a sign that the anger and malice and despair and hopelessness that drains out of the internet is just an illusion, and people are still kind to one another, still enjoy waving at neighbors walking, still deserve the love of dogs. Then, other times, I tell my husband to lower his voice when he’s railing against Biden, worried someone might come around the corner and hear, or we’ll get picked up on a Ring doorbell and become TikTok infamous. That kind of paranoia may be wise these days, but I don’t know. Maybe we should just enjoy the heck out of the little things while we can.

Published in Group Writing
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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Thanks so much for taking me on your constitutional! I enjoy my walks, too, seeing familiar faces and dogs and other wild critters. And I wave to the people in their cars as they go by, too, and most return my wave! I think that any gestures we make to connect with the world around us, whether it’s appreciating the sweetness of a smile, the beauty of nature, or an overzealous puppy can really add an unanticipated joy to the day. Good for you and your husband, Terri!

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I don’t think my wife could get me to tone it down outside anymore. Her new boss is a former cop. She is becoming more vocally conservative even though she works the city in code enforcement. 

    She sure did not slow me down at the Ricochet Meetup. I had many heated agreements. 

    • #2
  3. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Just saying “constitutional” will get you on The List.    Please don’t tell me you have a US flag hanging off your front porch.

    • #3
  4. MDHahn Coolidge
    MDHahn
    @MDHahn

    Enjoy the little things! We enjoy our neighborhood walks with our kids too. My only hope is that our boys aren’t too loud so that they disturb our neighbors. 

    The despair and paranoia on the Internet is illusory. It’s not real life. You describe wonderfully pleasant, normal interactions with your community. It doesn’t seem like you would stop waiving or petting dogs if you knew who your neighbors voted for. I don’t think we should assume that they would. 

    Your daily walks sound great. I hope they stay that way. I really don’t think that the vast majority of people would suddenly change on a dime over politics–especially not in real life. Try to just enjoy the walk.

    • #4
  5. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    What a nice post!

    I love calling walks constitutionals.

    • #5
  6. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Terri Mauro: You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say,

    They actually seem to do better in the suburbs than in real wilderness. Less predators and people plant all kinds of tasty things for them to eat (like my tulips).

    • #6
  7. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Just saying “constitutional” will get you on The List. Please don’t tell me you have a US flag hanging off your front porch.

    Maybe just carry a small flag on your walks.  

    • #7
  8. Not a Gubmint Spy Member
    Not a Gubmint Spy
    @OldDanRhody

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Terri Mauro: You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say,

    They actually seem to do better in the suburbs than in real wilderness. Less predators and people plant all kinds of tasty things for them to eat (like my tulips).

    You ain’t just awoofin’.  Nobody can hunt them, and even the dogs are tied or fenced in.  It’s deer and rabbit heaven.

    • #8
  9. Terri Mauro Coolidge
    Terri Mauro
    @TerriMauro

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Just saying “constitutional” will get you on The List. Please don’t tell me you have a US flag hanging off your front porch.

    Maybe just carry a small flag on your walks.  

    I have walked the neighborhood in a T-shirt with a flag theme, and another that said God Bless America, and no one threw anything at me. I was keeping an eye out.

    • #9
  10. Terri Mauro Coolidge
    Terri Mauro
    @TerriMauro

    Not a Gubmint Spy (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Terri Mauro: You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say,

    They actually seem to do better in the suburbs than in real wilderness. Less predators and people plant all kinds of tasty things for them to eat (like my tulips).

    You ain’t just awoofin’.  Nobody can hunt them, and even the dogs are tied or fenced in.  It’s deer and rabbit heaven.

    The rabbits around here got very bold during COVID when humans abandoned outdoor spaces and now clearly feel like they own the place. The deer are a little more recent and are really getting comfy. Just kind of disconcerting when you’re walking down the sidewalk and a deer comes loping up behind you.

    We at least live in a pretty suburban area in New Jersey. I spoke with someone who lives in Newark, NJ, which is pretty urban, and she said there’ve been deer in her neighborhood and also a bear. Street critters. 

    • #10
  11. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Terri Mauro (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Just saying “constitutional” will get you on The List. Please don’t tell me you have a US flag hanging off your front porch.

    Maybe just carry a small flag on your walks.

    I have walked the neighborhood in a T-shirt with a flag theme, and another that said God Bless America, and no one threw anything at me. I was keeping an eye out.

    Head on a swivel, they say. 

    • #11
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    MDHahn (View Comment):

    The despair and paranoia on the Internet is illusory. It’s not real life. You describe wonderfully pleasant, normal interactions with your community. It doesn’t seem like you would stop waiving or petting dogs if you knew who your neighbors voted for. I don’t think we should assume that they would.

    I think that was true, but is no longer. People can’t marinate themselves (and ourselves) in this kind of other-hate and not be changed. 

    We don’t roll our eyes at the foolishness of how our opponents vote, we impugn their motives (and sometimes rightly). 

    We live in two worlds and they do not match up; nature abhors a dissonance. 

    • #12
  13. Terri Mauro Coolidge
    Terri Mauro
    @TerriMauro

    TBA (View Comment):

    MDHahn (View Comment):

    The despair and paranoia on the Internet is illusory. It’s not real life. You describe wonderfully pleasant, normal interactions with your community. It doesn’t seem like you would stop waiving or petting dogs if you knew who your neighbors voted for. I don’t think we should assume that they would.

    I think that was true, but is no longer. People can’t marinate themselves (and ourselves) in this kind of other-hate and not be changed. 

    We don’t roll our eyes at the foolishness of how our opponents vote, we impugn their motives (and sometimes rightly). 

    We live in two worlds and they do not match up; nature abhors a dissonance. 

    I think it’s still generally true on a person-to-person basis. Not true in a mob, and not true on social media. And the latter two make it hard to trust the former.

    • #13
  14. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Terri Mauro (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    MDHahn (View Comment):

    The despair and paranoia on the Internet is illusory. It’s not real life. You describe wonderfully pleasant, normal interactions with your community. It doesn’t seem like you would stop waiving or petting dogs if you knew who your neighbors voted for. I don’t think we should assume that they would.

    I think that was true, but is no longer. People can’t marinate themselves (and ourselves) in this kind of other-hate and not be changed.

    We don’t roll our eyes at the foolishness of how our opponents vote, we impugn their motives (and sometimes rightly).

    We live in two worlds and they do not match up; nature abhors a dissonance.

    I think it’s still generally true on a person-to-person basis. Not true in a mob, and not true on social media. And the latter two make it hard to trust the former.

    Yesterday afternoon I spent 4 hours going door-to-door in support of my reelection campaign.  I am distributing those plastic door hanger bags (pre-punched with a hole for the door knob) with a small US flag and a simple magnet for the fridge.  The magnet has my name and the office I am running for.  

    Assuming that most people don’t want to be disturbed, I don’t knock on the door.  If folks are in their yard or garage, then I do introduce myself and hand them their bag.  

    I don’t know that this will result in more votes, but I can report that I get expressions of appreciation that I took the time to meet people face-to-face.  The Democrats typically say “good luck,” and the Republicans say “you have my vote.”  

    • #14
  15. MDHahn Coolidge
    MDHahn
    @MDHahn

    TBA (View Comment):

    MDHahn (View Comment):

    The despair and paranoia on the Internet is illusory. It’s not real life. You describe wonderfully pleasant, normal interactions with your community. It doesn’t seem like you would stop waiving or petting dogs if you knew who your neighbors voted for. I don’t think we should assume that they would.

    I think that was true, but is no longer. People can’t marinate themselves (and ourselves) in this kind of other-hate and not be changed.

    We don’t roll our eyes at the foolishness of how our opponents vote, we impugn their motives (and sometimes rightly).

    We live in two worlds and they do not match up; nature abhors a dissonance.

    Perhaps. That’s one of the reasons I am worried about marinating in the “other-hate” online. I leave in a small town where most of the people are liberal. We still had a packed turnout downtown for our 4th of July parade and people still stood for the flag and the veterans as they marched by.

    We have our differences but there are still things to bind us. We need to look for those opportunities.

    • #15
  16. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Terri Mauro: You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say,

    They actually seem to do better in the suburbs than in real wilderness. Less predators and people plant all kinds of tasty things for them to eat (like my tulips).

    My parents ended up getting very high black plastic coated chain link fencing to keep out the deer from my mother’s gardens. Far too many tasty plants all year round.

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the September 2022 Group Writing Theme: “Constitutional.” Stop by to sign up and share your own short observations.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #16
  17. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Terri Mauro: You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say,

    They actually seem to do better in the suburbs than in real wilderness. Less predators and people plant all kinds of tasty things for them to eat (like my tulips).

    My parents ended up getting very high black plastic coated chain link fencing to keep out the deer from my mother’s gardens. Far too many tasty plants all year round.

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the September 2022 Group Writing Theme: “Constitutional.” Stop by to sign up and share your own short observations.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    Pretty cute as disease vectors go

    • #17
  18. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    What a nice post!

    I love calling walks constitutionals.

    I was going to write for my entry about the walks I take around town with my cousin.  We always ask each other  “Do you want to constitute” instead of “do you want to go for a walk.”  But then I saw Terri’s title and thought I’d write about something else.  But I love our constitutionals!  And yes, sometimes we talk a little too loudly but we don’t care even though our town is very liberal.  A variety of colored ribbons hung on every tree!

    • #18
  19. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Terri Mauro: You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say,

    They actually seem to do better in the suburbs than in real wilderness. Less predators and people plant all kinds of tasty things for them to eat (like my tulips).

    Garbage pick up is tomorrow morning, but this guy got to my garbage first.

    • #19
  20. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Terri Mauro: You know why that deer is there? Capitalists, plowing down mountains and building condos. That’s what the lefties in town would say,

    I was once on a boat trip where we saw a whole group of whales playing under the Golden Gate bridge.  I think they were California gray whales.  It was amazing.  Later at dinner, one of my companions said “Can you imagine the environmental damage that caused them to be there.”  What a sad view of the world they have.

    • #20
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