November 22, 2007

Weekend Morning Strolls

For a few months now, I have been escorting Lady E. on early morning strolls on Saturdays and Sundays. So, yeah, I just push her around with the baby stroller. At first, we started this to escape the heat during summer and give Naomi a break in the morning on weekends. But fall is almost over now, so we bundle up and I bring a mug of coffee to fuel the adventure. It’s actually quite nice to explore the neighborhood where I have been living for 10 years in greater detail; I am still discovering small, narrow roads and pathways between houses in the older sections of the area. The small hills that frame this part of town also keep through-traffic to manageable level, so we can roam around safely. Elena seems to like the thrumming vibrations of the stroller's wheels -- maybe, to her, a sound not unlike that of traveling by car – and looking around. She’s a fine spelunking companion and I also relish the time spent together.
The other thing I like about these walks is that local people, upon seeing a cute little baby, seem to lose their general inhibitions about speaking with me. Is it a male thing or being a foreigner….I don’t know, but I can say with confidence that having a small baby with me seems like a license to speak with random people who would normally never think of engaging me in conversation. And that’s nice. Am I a more sensitive, honest and responsible gaijin now that I have Lady E. in hand? Nah—same old prick as always. Yet normally shy and reticent people now open up, giggle and goo-goo with abandon. Being a Dad confers sudden sainthood?