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It's a long walk home

September 13, 2008|By TONY MULIERI

OK, I've now ridden the bus to work, I've taken my bicycle, and I even walked home one day.

The only things left are air and sea.

All this to take a stand against the high price of gas - $3.55 per gallon - as I write in this column.

The bus ride home has gotten a bit tedious with all of the road construction work slowing us down.

The bike trip is mostly uphill on the way home, but it's not a killer.

The walk home, now that's a different story.

I was walking to the bus stop one day when I just kept going.

It wasn't a terribly hot day, and the humidity wasn't that bad.

I decided I would take the "back roads" home and avoid Pennsylvania Avenue to my home near the airport, approximately five miles away.

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That meant walking through the West End and connecting with Maugansville Road.

When I got to Western Heights Middle School, I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew.

But it was too late to look back, or walk back, for that matter.

As I passed the Potomac Center, I saw a familiar truck coming the other way. My son's co-worker Zack was going to a job. I started this mantra in my head as I waved: "Turn back, Zack ... Turn back, Zack ... Turn back, Zack."

But Zack was not feeling me.

Zack didn't turn back.

Maugansville Road is a long straightaway Dale Earnhardt Jr. would like to see coming out of turn two.

But he's in a car. When you're on foot, it goes on forever.

What happened next was comical.

When I finally got to the four-way stop in Maugansville, a friend of my youngest son yelled, "Hey, Mr. Mulieri, you walking? Need a ride?"

I was less than a mile from home by then so I said, thanks, but I've made it this far.

Then about two blocks later, my regular bus driver from the County Commuter stops beside me as I'm walking. "You miss the bus? You want a ride?"

Well, I told her I had decided to walk and thanks, but no thanks.

As I made the turn onto Showalter Road and approached the underpass to Interstate 81, my cell phone rang.

It was my wife.

"It's 6:30," she says, "you're not home."

"I'm walking," I said.

"From the bus stop?" she asked.

"No, from The Herald-Mail," I answered.

Silence.

Then, "Do you want me to come pick you up."

"No, I'm passing the airport. I'll be home in a few minutes."

By then, I was hurting.

As I walked into my home, I told my wife, "Stop me if I ever try to do anything like that again."

The walk took two hours and 15 minutes and I was out of gas.

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