Walking And Talking

One problem with only having had the refurbished Apple Watch since last August is that I don’t really know how long I’ve been keeping up with the daily walk for exercise, let alone how to calculate the longer period going back into the early pandemic that then got intermittently interrupted by weather too cold or too hot. All I really can say for sure is that currently there’s about a year where it’s steady except for two weeks in and around a summer heatwave.

What I wanted to mention, though, was that a couple of months ago I made a change to my listening habits during the walk: I switched from music to podcasts. This had the obvious and immediate benefit of catching me up on my backlog of the latter, since it carved out a block of listening time unimpeded by trying also to do something like write a blog post or tinker with theming.

The only other blocks of time that had gotten carved out for podcasts was showering, for which I tended to save episodes of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and certain chores like the sweeping and vacuuming where it helps to have something on to help drown out the sound of the latter.

More recently still, I’ve developed a backup for when I’m out of podcast episodes: putting the seven albums and EPs I have in my Apple Music library from Yeah Yeah Yeahs on shuffle. Until a few months back when I went hunting for something, the only Yeah Yeah Yeahs song I knew was “Down Boy” and that was because it was used in the lackluster ad campaign for the late, lamented FX series Terriers, which was the thing for which I was hunting and which put the “Is Is” EP into my rotation.

I’d sat with that one EP until the Marvel series Echo used “Burning” for the opening titles. That’s when I dropped the other six records into my library. At some point, I’ll need to sit down and listen to each as its own thing, rather than only experiencing any of their respective songs as part of a shuffle, but the band is cemented as one of my all-time favorites despite somehow missing out on them for two decades.

When I’d made a note to remind me to get around to this post, I’d included one more thing, entirely unrelated to the rest of it but in combination with the switch to podcasts gave the post its title.

Making my circuit through lower residential St. Johns, most typically one longer loop and then a tacked on shorter one that combine almost exactly to a mile and a quarter, I realized that when passing people on the sidewalk heading the opposite way my gesture of greeting somehow became the upnod. It occurred to me just the other day that there seem to be a couple of different explanations for this.

First, for whatever reason, the movement seems more biomechanically natural to me than the nod. Second, autistically wrapped as I am in hoodie, headphones, and mirrorshades, I think the nod too easily can be mistaken for avoidance of mutual recognition than for communication of it. In such a state, it very much looks like looking away. In contrast, there’s not much for which an upnod can be mistaken.

So, now you know: if you pass me out on my walk, I’m mostly likely listening to Science, Quickly, The Joy of Why, or Our Opinions Are Correct; if I’m pushing my limit of a seventeen-minute mile, there’s a fairly good chance that instead it’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs on shuffle; and if I upnod, I’m not being a bro: I’m making that transient connection of small, every day courtesies in a world with no meaning but that which we make.