Who is crazy enough to walk 6 miles in 90 degree heat and humidity simply for lunch at Blue Hill Cafe?
Okay I’m exaggerating. It wasn’t 6 miles. Only 5.9 miles but I used to be in finance so I know a thing or two about rounding up and approximating. Even so, that would be about a two hour walk and mostly on roads where I’m skirting the edge of the pavement, between a ditch and the front bumper of cars whizzing past. But there was that matter of a delectable egg salad sandwich and vegatable frittata, the memory of which propelled me forward in even my most dire moments.
The day was sunny and a fleeting breeze fluttered over my skin when I set out from Les’ house for my trek. There was some snickering and disbelief the night before when I announced my intentions. No one walks in Westchester county, home of the Clintons, good school districts, numerous European cars, and ladies of leisure with Bugaboo strollers. Plus the area is mostly sans sidewalks and thus not conducive to pedestrians. But since I wanted to revisit egg salad nirvana and I had no car, 6 miles didn’t seem so daunting. Pshaw, I said with bravado. I can do it.
Even when I rolled my right ankle with a wrong step on a rock, I was still undaunted. I trudged down the route, walking a good pace next to the white, painted line that marked the side of the road, casting a quick glance over my shoulder every once in a while to check for cars barreling towards me. It was okay at first. The heat didn’t seem so bothersome and I didn’t notice that my jeans were beginning to stick to my skin. Pleasant thoughts filled my head as I admired the sheer greenness of everything around me, a rarity in California. Then as I kept going, the shade started to give way and I was constantly under the relentless sun while sweat started beading up on my forehead. It was still fine then as I playfully raced the recycling truck making its rounds at every doorstep. With a quick exchange of smiles between myself and the cute recycling guy, I left them in my dust as I hit route 117.
By that point I was feeling pretty good and keeping up my pace. It was close to 11:30 and I still had 3 miles to go. Then the breeze stopped and the sun glared down at me. I don’t remember what was playing on my iPod but I do remember thinking that the earphones were keeping any scarce wind from reaching the inside of my brain. It was so hot. I walked on grass, on uneven dirt, uneven pavement, through coals and fire. But I kept walking with a fierce determination only the deranged possess, all the while, cars kept driving past me, making an effort to maintain an 8 foot distance as they passed, drivers casting looks of irritation or incredulity at me. Hey nutso, no one walks around here. God gave us cars for a reason!
By the time I reached Bedford Road and the last leg of my trip, I was questioning my ambition and sense of judgement while my feet began to drag. As Fabio from Top Chef would say, “I was sweating like a mountain goat at the beach.” Hadn’t the fortune teller told me just last week that I was smarter than the average Joe? Obviously he was a charlatan. It was so hot and the humidity was pressing me to the ground as I dug my heels in and walked up the incline ( truthfully a teeny incline but it felt like Everest). The trees had pulled themselves far from the road, and with it, the shade offering leaves. They were mocking me for my folly, I was sure of it. If I just gave up, could I just knock on the door to one of those air-conditioned homes? Would they take pity on me and let me in for a rest? I briefly thought about calling Les to pick me up instead of meeting me there but I wanted to have the bragging rights. The gates to Blue Hill came to view as I rounded the bend, still dodging cars and strange looks. I picked up the pace, spurred onward by the thought of a soft, fluffy, egg salad sandwich.
I must have presented a bedraggled sight as I lumbered to the counter, red-faced and sweaty, but triumphant. Until the inconceivable happened. They did not have egg salad! The man there did not pity me and my little 6 mile odyssey. Not having egg salad was no travesty to him and he offered no explanation. I mean, how can you not have egg salad? There were plenty of chickens hanging out at the entrance? Go lay a few eggs or I’m going to pour oil into the fryer you cluckers!
The salty beads of liquid that ran down the side of my cheeks were sweat not tears mind you. Defeated but yet indomitable, I settled for a crazy delicious vegetable frittata with blue potatoes, broccoli, and mild goat cheese. I came, I saw, and I conquered 6 measly miles. but I won’t be walking there again. I’ll expand my carbon footprint and take a car like everyone else around here.