I was out with some friends last night at a pub (definitely a pub, not a bar. The distinction is subtle, but significant.) and I walked home at around midnight afterwards. Putting aside the fact that I was walking in -30 weather--which is admittedly a lot to put aside--the walking itself was a welcome experience, just because it was such a familiar experience.
I've always enjoyed walking home by myself after a night at the bar. A part of it, I think, springs from fairly selfish motivations: after spending some time in the company of others, I want to immediately follow it with some "me" time. (Hence the reason that on such walks, I often stop by the local convenience store and purchase some entirely nonhealthy "me" foods.) There's also a safety valve issue: while it's not such a big issue anymore, I used to get a sensory overload when I was around a large group of people socially, and I needed some time to process by myself. But nowadays, the walk mainly gives me a chance to just dwell on the night, who I spent it with, and what they mean to me.
(Have I talked about the verb "dwell" in the past? I should have, because it's a favorite of mine. In the context, it means the same thing as thinking, but it also has connotations of home. I like that--the idea that your thoughts are a mental embodiment.)
Last night in particular, it was a mix of old and new. I don't do a lot of the night walk in Blank, so it had a heavy nostalgia flavor to it; this flavour was somewhat tempered since I was walking with my I-Pod, something that did NOT occur in the old days, since I didn't have an I-pod back then. But at least it made me feel less crazy for singing loudly in a public street at 12:00 am in the morning.
The best part of the walk (not the evening, which of course was the conversations with friends) was when I went past a house with a sign in the window that said "Have a Great Day!!". I deliberately chose my path so that I'd be going by the sign, and I had been really hoping it was still there. For more times than I can count, I've passed that sign late at night, still warm with the glow of the evening. And maybe it's because I'm usually a little drunk (ok, it's probably because I'm drunk) but it never fails to make me smile. It's just such a positive thing, a simple act of benevolence. It's a wish of good will to complete strangers, with no strings attached. And I think we all need that sometimes.
Cold Weather Running Aside: People get all kinds of excited when they see someone in a ski mask running quickly towards them.