A walk home after a night out.

I'm down "in" Atlanta right now, really it's north of Atlanta. I've been helping out with all the prep work for the Christmas and Christmas eve dinner spreads that our family hosts every year. Like Thanksgiving, there's an unending litany of things to be chopped, boiled, peeled, mixed, and cleaned. The dishes pile up every hour or so with all the prep-work. I feel like I'm back in the kitchen at the Barbecue restaurant I worked at in school. 

My sister was married in the church yesterday. It also happened to be my brother in law's birthday. Everyone wanted to go out downtown. We ended up at an acquaintance's place and we just kind of stalled there. 

Eventually, we went out, walking from an area called Old Fourth Ward and making our way into Edgewood. Edgewood was littered with bars and little clubs. We settled in at a long metal hightop table and hung out for a few hours.

Hanging out with my brother in law's friends, and not being the smoothest conversationalist, table talk was tapering off into near-awkwardness. Out came my playing cards. I started teaching across the table, and quickly we had a third and fourth player join us. 

With no paper, no pen and a bar full of noise and distraction, I figured out some bar-rules for the simple six card golf card game. Usually you would add up nine rounds ("holes") of scores and the player with the lowest score would win. Instead, I taught everyone that best two out of three would always win. So if you didn't win a round in the first 3 rounds, you were out. Best two out of three matches would continue until someone would win a one versus one standoff. Rounds went quickly where players didn't have difficulty with the rules: funny how beers will do that.

I skipped out on the first phone-app-called car back to the suburbs. Finally we were out and having fun, so I elected to go out with my cousins when they wanted to head home. We made our way to another place only to get stuck outside for twenty or thirty minutes waiting to get in. The girls all went in ahead of us while I thought about how best to avoid having to dance in public.

When we were allowed in, I was very surprised. This wasn't a club, it was an arcade! An adult arcade, sure, but there was a long room filled with classic games. There were plenty that I didn't recognize, but an acquaintance and I quickly made our way to a side-scrolling shooter to lose all of our quarters. 

One last round of getting my space ships blown up, and we decided to head back to the suburbs. My exit was way south of where my cousin and her husband were going, so I had the driver leave me at the off ramp. Since it was 1:30 in the morning on a Saturday night, I knew I would be able to hire another car or grab a cab back to my parent's house.

I knew that everyone would be asleep for the night when I got home, and I'm not used to getting to bed very early since my fiancee works nightshifts. It was too early, for me, to go home and go to sleep. I would just end up reading or surfing the web until I fell asleep anyway. 

I used to drive this way all the time to get back to my parent's house from the highway, so I just decided to take a walk. I'd start walking home, and when I got tired I'd get a ride the rest of the way. 

It was seven miles from the highway to my parents', and I just never ended up getting that ride. My GPS said it would take me about two and a half hours. I walked it in under two hours. 

Around the half way point, I realized that I'm still in very good shape to walk from the trail. Not that walking on graded streets and sidewalks is very hard. Hitting my parent's driveway I realized that I'd tricked myself into getting some decent exercise. 

I wasn't dressed to walk. I had loads of stuff in my pockets from going out without a bag, I was wearing my thick denim pants, and I had on a flannel shirt that ended up being a little too warm. None of that mattered, since I had the right underwear, shoes, and socks on. No chafing and no blisters.

Thinking about it now, it's kind of cool. I got two hours of walking exercise, I saved maybe sixteen to twenty bucks on a cab, and got some time to walk and think to myself. 

It had rained earlier in the day and the street was still wet. Street and traffic lights reflected off the wet, black pavement and the collections of puddles scattered along the way. I'm going to have to do this more. Maybe I'll start walking to the grocery.

I hope you have a really good day. Be careful if you are traveling for the holidays. See you later.