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Taking note of the world around us

I’ve done it a number of times over the years, but this time I decided to make mental notes as I went along.

On Sunday morning, just after 9, I headed over to CN Centre to get in a few laps of walking around the concourse. I know about six laps make a mile, and I usually walk for a set period of time, keeping track of my laps by an ancient method known as ‘finger-counting’.

I took off my heavy coat and hung it over one of the rails near the Hall of Fame exhibit, then took off my outdoor boots and replaced them with sneakers.

And then I was off.

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What I was doing this time, rather than basically staring blankly ahead, focused only on my digital lap counter, was to take casual notes about things I saw on the route, from the other people out walking to things I had probably passed hundreds of times on previous walks but never noticed.

Like the big painted-tile project. I remember doing a story about it, and I had seen it a number of times on previous trips, but this was the first time I really looked at it.

My mind being the way it is, one of the things I noticed in the sign beside it was that it contained 1,355 tiles. As I continued my walk, I started walking with that number. I realized fairly quickly it worked out to 55 by 25, so the next time by, I paused for a couple of seconds, counting the number of tiles in a row. It didn’t come out to 55 or 25. The next time I’m there, I will take a few minutes to make a more careful count and see what I get.

There were not a lot of other people walking on Sunday morning, which surprised me a little, given how many there are some weekday mornings. There were some, like me, walking on their own, many of them setting a faster pace than me, which meant I heard their feet coming up behind me a few times on the 12 laps I did in 48 minutes.

Others were walking in small groups, no more than two or three. Some of them were chatting about all kinds of subjects, from common acquaintances to solving the problems of the world. Others walked along in silence, quite possibly pacing each other, with the occasional comment being made.

There seemed to be a mutual understanding among all of us, though. If you heard someone coming up behind you, you moved to the right and let them pass.

As I left after completing my time, it occurred to me that if people used that same principle on the road as they do on the concourse, it might make for some less-frazzled nerves for drivers.

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