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Flânerie

A bald man and his buddy stand at the North Pool of the National September 11 Memorial.

I often lament to my wife and sons (actually complain) that while I am fortunate to genuinely love and appreciate the magazine publishing business and our tiny corner of it, I find there isn’t any time during the workweek to just … explore and perhaps enjoy a few unfettered minutes away from the vise grip of my phone. Even as a darn close to lifelong resident of Warrick and Vanderburgh counties, there are favorite and unexplored places that I can’t seem to get to anymore and just wander around a bit and be on no timetable, or feel the guilt that I am not doing something to help further my business efforts. This comes from the reality that everyone is doing more with less in the business world.

I don’t care how long you have called Evansville home or how adventurous you are, there is much to take in. A few things I have not done on my local list include canoeing Pigeon Creek or running the new University of Southern Indiana-Burdette Park Trail. We wrote about the Grotto in the basement of St. Boniface Catholic Church, but I didn’t have time to stop by. I have not visited Willard Library lately and I have heard the renovations and gardens are nice. Shelby Marshall’s antique store The Antique Market on Fourth Street is a treasure trove of everything, from old Evansville signs to a Rolls-Royce.
I am unable to get there, although these are but a few blocks away. I laughed when I recently read a letter to the editor in Evansville Living that an Evansville couple wanted to be tourists here in their own city for a week, I would imagine for similar reasoning.

I recently spent a week on spring break in New York City with my wife and sons. I was somewhat at a loss for words (yes, it even happens to me) when invariably someone would ask, “Well what did you do in the city?” To explain what we did on the trip is to describe exploring the city fairly aimlessly. Well it turns out, the French have a word for it called “flânerie.” I ran across the only French word I now know while perusing an old magazine (imagine that). While in the midst of looking for something else entirely, I ran across the word “flânerie” — which had it been on a menu I might have tried to order it for dessert. It actually is an older term (of course) to describe a favorite pastime of mine — and I guess old French dudes — of being an explorer but doing it at one’s leisure. Explore the streets, shops, and parks while enjoying the beauty and energy a city gives you.

In New York, it meant setting off with a very limited itinerary and exploring shop windows, parks, fish markets, architecture, and beautiful neighborhoods. We had an outstanding time “discovering” and walked close to eight miles a day doing so (of course, there’s an app for that). Now that I am home, I would like to try the art of flânerie here in Evansville. But if I am strolling down Franklin Street “window shopping” and someone stops me and says, “What are you up to?” If I say “practicing flânerie,” I might just wish I had said, “bar hopping” to avoid being “escorted back” to the East Side and the West Siders enjoying a good laugh at my expense.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker
Publisher

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