I don’t get too much into serious stuff here. I mean, if you’ve read this blog before, you know that I’m better suited to telling stories like how my husband had to go to the mall last week and he texts me to say that it is totally different than the last time he was there, but he’s glad to know the floating ball is still there. And I’m like what floating ball? And he’s all, uh, THE TWO TON MARBLE ORB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MALL THAT FLOATS ON A STREAM OF WATER TOTALLY DEFYING LOGIC AND POSSIBLY A COUPLE OF LAWS OF PHYSICS!! And I’m like, wow, I can’t believe I missed that.
Yeah, I’m better suited to that stuff.
I want to break from my normal banality to talk about something a little dear to me, which is the new Greater Memphis Greenline (GMG). For those of you not in the Memphis area, Our Fair City has just turned an old CSX short line railway into a hiking-biking trail system that, at this point, connects a part of (roughly) central Memphis with Shelby Farms Park.
I happen to live across the street from a section of this trail. I can sit in my living room and watch people on the trail. It’s basically in the backyard of the people who live across the street. Now here’s where I come to my point. I’ve heard a lot recently that’s just plain bitching about the GMG: Why don’t people who live near the GMG get 24-hour armed police protection from all the undesirables lurking around the GMG just waiting to eat our children? In three months, I’ve heard, the thing is going to be vandalized and become a home for junkies. No one here in Memphis understands how to use the trail. Why, back when I lived in Portland/Atlanta/Seattle/East Granola Heights, people just intuitively understood trail etiquette. Not like these hicks here. It’s not this. It’s not that. Why can’t we do the other thing?
You know what, stop. Just stop.
I have to tell you that I actually feel safer (not that I ever felt unsafe) in my neighborhood because there are more people around now. I live in a fairly active neighborhood to begin with, but now I see my neighbors and their kids out riding and walking all day, every day. The people I hear complaining about the safety of the GMG don’t actually seem to be people who live on it. We’re thrilled to have it. I mean, seriously, what’s going to happen? Roving bands of road riders are going to take over and force-feed me energy gels? Mountain bikers are going to tie me up and force me to listen to three hours of the hardtail/full suspension debate?
Yes, there are some people acting like…wait for it…asshats on the trail, but I think that’s more because it’s new and people haven’t really gotten into an etiquette swing yet. No, you can’t walk or ride four-abreast. Move on. Yes, there are some aggressive bikers out there who can be annoying. But you know what? It’s as much that asshat’s trail as it is mine. With use comes rhythm. I’ve already found the people I pass early in the morning on weekdays are entirely different users than those on the weekends. We all find our rhythm.
Guys, use the thing first. Just use it. Listen to your broccoli. Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it. Use the trail, and it will develop. It will get extended. It will stay safe. But before we get into MEMPHIS CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT STUPID CITY WILL ALWAYS BE SECOND RATE BUNCH OF KNUCKLEHEADS, let’s just take a moment to use the GMG. Let’s address issues as we need to, issues that are there, and not get into this oh what it oh what if stuff. Be proactive, yes, but that’s different than being a grumpy puss.
In other words, quit yer fussin’ and get out! A nice walk will work off some of that aggression.