The most logical way to walk the 8 blocks to work would be to walk to the corner, turn left, walk 8 blocks, and turn left again.
However, I like my route slightly better.
I walk to the corner, and turn left. I then walk 3 blocks, I stop at "my" Starbucks and say hello to "my" barista. (He was working on my way home last night, we made faces in the window at each other while he cleaned up.) I get some sort of tea.
I walk one block further, and then turn left and walk down the street I used to work on. I pass the pizza place my friends and I used to frequent, and wave to the guys inside. (I bought a slice there last night. The owner and I chatted about the new place he's opening a few blocks away.)
I continue down the block past the restaurant where my friends and I would hang at the bar, and where the bartender showed me his sweet motorcycle. Sometimes I run into people I used to work with outside the theatre.
This is about halfway down the block. At this point, I cross the street and walk through a breezeway under a hotel. This is more habit than anything else now. I used to do it to listen to the Sinatra music that played in the breezeway, and to say hello to my friend Riley who worked in one of the stores, but the Sinatra show closed, and Riley's schedule hasn't lined up with mine in some time.
I cross the street midway and walk through the breezeway under the theatre I sometimes sub at. If I'm lucky, I run into my old boss outside and get to say hello.
I cross the street again and land myself in front of the bagel place. To my coworkers it literally is just "the bagel place". Surely, there are about 20 other places to get a bagel around work, but this is the bagel place, just like the deli is the deli, and if you say you're going to the deli, everyone knows which one.
At this point, I turn left, walk to the corner, and turn right landing myself right in the middle of Times Square. I weave through tourists for the last 2 blocks, and land myself at work.
So why bother? Why take the longer way to work?
Because this is my neighborhood, and I like that. I like that the guys at Starbucks or at the pizza place know me. I like that I can run into old coworkers. I like that, if I take my route, somewhere along the way to work someone will greet me with a smile and a wave. And if I'm having a bad day, that might just be the thing to cheer me up.
I think it's one of the things I've inherited from my dad. When I was little, I would go with my dad on errands. (I still do occasionally, when I'm home. Just for old time's sake.) Whenever my dad walked into the cleaner's, or the bagel place, (Different bagel place, but the bagel place of my childhood. They don't taste as good if they come from anywhere else, I don't care what you say.) or the fish market, he was greeted with a smile and a wave. The people who work at the stores in my neighborhood know my dad, and they all like him. And you know what? When I walk into the cleaner's with my dad's laundry bag, they greet me with a smile and a wave too, and ask how I am, and how my father is. I love that. And I love that now I have that in my own neighborhood, even one as big as New York City.
So even if it takes me a little longer to get to work, I'd rather have a smile and a wave along the way. I'd rather have that moment of personal interaction before I turn into a robot for a few hours. And for that, I'll take the scenic route.