I like walking. But somewhere in the 90s in Southern California people stopped calling it walking. If you walked in the woods or up a mountain path: it was hiking. If you walked around the track or even around the neighborhood it was worse: it was power walking. If you jogged to the corner and then walked for a few blocks before sprinting home: it was low impact cardio. Instead of walking up and down the stairs, you took step classes. Just walking had become outdated and quaint. In an age of ambition, just walking was not an action item. It was too unmotivated. (Unless it was on a treadmill at the gym.) If you just walked, you'd better do it in $200 walking shoes with a state-of-the-art pedometer, a heart rate monitor and a bottle of vitamin water.
Poor walking. Forced to compete when all it really wanted was to hang out and play.
In recent years, outdoor malls modeled after small town city centers have become the rage. At places like The Grove , Universal City Walk and The Americana at Brand, you can stroll along cobblestone sidewalks, beneath vintage-inspired streetlamps, in an experience replicating the bygone custom of ... just walking around town. We're lucky to be able to just walk around town in South Pasadena. At just barely 3.44 square miles, we can walk all the way around town. (With all the hills we can even call it a work out.)