By this point, I’ve gotten my walks down to a nice little routine. Up to the Publix and back. Up to the park and back if I’m feeling particularly ambitious. Up to Conroy Road and back if I was a disgusting pig the day before and am feeling guilty. I know the distance, I know the timing, and I know I can handle it.
But sometimes the prospect of walking past the same scenery one more damn time, even with the welcome distraction of a good podcast or playlist, becomes too daunting. And so I’ll take the odd turn, just to see what the hell is down that road. For instance, there’s this weird-looking industrial complex poking up above the golf course and the surrounding suburbs near me. I see it all the time, and had always assumed it was the physical plant for the golf course, or something to do with the elementary school I know is back there. Today though, I figured I’d go find it.
So I went off course. Crossed Hiawassee, headed into the subdivision, and found the school. But I didn’t find what I was looking for. Nothing looking like what I’d seen was anywhere near the school. I walked all the way to the far corner of the school grounds and thought about just turning around retracing my steps back before I couldn’t figure out where I was. But now I was curious as to just where the hell I actually was. I knew the cross street I was looking at didn’t go straight back out to Hiawassee, and didn’t recognize the name. What was the worst that could happen if I went down it a little bit? Okay, possible kidnapping and death, but let’s be real. So off I went.
And walked for about ten minutes before I saw my grail, the gleaming metal tower and the drab industrial buildings behind a brick wall and an iron gate. It turned out to be a gas transfer station. Which, honestly, seems a pretty odd fit for a cushy golf course neighborhood. In all likelihood, this thing was here first and everything sprang up around it … which is just as odd, now that I think about it. The transference of gas doesn’t seem like something you’d want as your 19th hole. But there it was. My quest was at an end.
Or so I thought. By this point, I’d gone so far that doubling back around the way I came to get back seemed a little impractical. The road I was on curved off to the left, and paralleled the road I would have taken back home. So I figured I’d press on and see where this ended up. Then I saw a road sign and recognized the name, and was pretty sure if I kept on, I’d end up on the road the intersects Hiawassee a few miles north of my apartment. I’d just do a big loop and be back home.
After a total of a little over two hours and some unexpectedly hilly terrain that has no damn business being in Florida, I returned home from my road less traveled. I now knew what my mystery building is. I now knew where a few new roads led. And I now had enough of a calorie deficit to make a disgusting pig out of myself. Sorry, not all of my motivations are so spiritually noble.