In those extraordinary days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may find our housebound selves greater curious than ever approximately what’s taking place outside in our neighborhoods and across our cities and towns. Where does energy come from? What occurs to our trash and recyclables once they leave our curb? How is our water cleaned? Consider the road signs and symptoms, and reflect onconsideration on what is in and on the ones roads. Ponder the manholes, their reason and shape. Observe the ubiquitous squirrels and their mating habits. A Walk Around the Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (and Know Nothing About) reads like a totally a laugh trot, with chapters that drift and entertain. Spike Carlsen’s relentless curiosity about the whole lot leads us directly to learn greater—and greater, and extra.
Straying far from his block in Stillwater, Minnesota, this editor, author, wood worker and woodworker (he’s additionally the writer of A Splintered History of Wood) excursions the graffiti-decorated alleys and sewers (yes, you can) of Paris and a trash museum in New York. Closer to home, there’s a local water remedy plant, recycling operation, traffic manipulate middle and post office. There’s also the Mail Recovery Center, which consolidates ninety million undeliverable and nonreturnable mail gadgets annually. Carlsen introduces a snow plower, mail sorter and deliverer, graffiti artist and pigeon professional. The makings of asphalt and concrete are explored, the shapes of road signs and symptoms are explained, and the history of front porches is revealed. Ever marvel about roadkill? Street names? Roundabouts versus visitors lights? It’s all here. Statistics and cultural histories raise the facts, however the anecdotes convey the day. The human beings Carlsen meets alongside the way—the ones who have likely never crossed our minds—turn out to be unforgettable.
A Walk Around the Block succeeds in making the mundane fascinating, commencing our minds (and front doors) to an normal world without problems taken for granted. As Carlsen writes, “I’ve learned know-how is power; and when you know greater approximately how the arena works, you make better choices as you walk via it.”