Thursday, February 8, 2018

Why walk on the footpath when you can walk on the grass? ...a value choice...

Walking to the train this morning, I noticed the long grass verge next to the footpath, as if for the first time. They are upgrading the train near my house, so for the last three months I have had to walk for ten minutes to the 2nd closest train station. It is summer here, and so I had my slip on shoes on to keep cool.

On a whim, I took my shoes off, and walked on the grass instead of the footpath. My 900m walking commute suddenly became a walk in the park. #shoesOff The footpath in bare feet seemed alien and unfriendly. The grass, while uneven and coarse, I realised was gently massaging my feet.

I realised how dull my feet felt in shoes on pavement. While barefoot on grass, I felt more alive, more in touch with nature, more normal.

Then a young woman, headphones on, frightened me as she scooted past on the footpath, walking briskly. Left Right Left Right, she was soon gone up the road, as I ambled along enjoying the tickle of the grass on my soles.

Aha. I was having a value moment. In that choice between grass and concrete, between fast and slow, between smooth and bumpy, we were each finding our value. Hers was quick and smooth and efficient, while mine was bumpy, slow and (like an Aussie wit) laconical. Her value was functional while mine was pleasureable. Hers was a means to an end, while mine was an end in itself.

Monday, I will probably be scooting down the footpath, on a cooler day, socks and shoes on.

Value is thus an individual choice, in a perceived context, between value dimensions eg function vs pleasure, each according to their current momentary needs. That choice for me happened in an instant today, but not occurred to me over the previous three months.