I'm walkin'. Yes indeed, I'm walkin'.

I pulled into a side street. Police are gonna lend a hand, I thought. One of the officers asked me for license and registration. Turns out it’s illegal to drive on a flat tire, and it’ll get you a $141 fine in St. Petersburg. That’s what the policeman told me.

I explained that I was looking for a safer, better-lit spot to pull over, that I’d never changed the tire on the Prius and didn’t even know where the spare was, that I didn’t know it was illegal to drive on a flat but now that I thought about it, it made sense, that my wife was out of town and I didn’t have a AAA card.  This was all 100-percent true, but the cop at first seemed incredulous. I shrugged, as if to say, ‘What can I tell ya? I guess he decided to believe me.

 “You gonna drive that car home?” he asked. Odd question, I thought; I told him no. He gave me a pass. I thanked him. Then I made a mistake. I should’ve asked him if he was heading toward Placido Bayou – protect and serve and all that. I didn’t think of it until several miles of walking later. 

I stood in on the residential street wondering what to do. I even called my wife in Chicago. She didn’t answer. I decided to leg it, make it down to the Ringside or Harvey’s on 4th Street, call a cab and have a beer while I waited.  A few hundred yards into the walk, I thought, “Hell, that’s not manly at all. I should just hoof it all the way home.” I kicked it up a notch. Why not get some exercise in? 

I wish I could say I enjoyed the walk. I will say I didn’t hate it. And I’m glad I didn’t stop and call a cab. I’m not a sedentary guy, so all I got was a sweated-up T-shirt and a sore Achilles tendon. It took me a little under an hour. The weirdest part was that two or three times I drifted deep into thought, then looked up and was not quite sure where I was. I’m so used to seeing these streets through a windshield that I got disoriented as a pedestrian. That seemed kind of sad. 

I walked up to the guard gate at Placido Bayou and said to a white-haired lady on duty, “I don’t know the protocol, but I’m a resident and I’m on foot.” She checked the database and my ID. Then she opened the gate for me, just like I was driving. I guess she doesn’t deal with many pedestrians.

Just walked home — from Crescent Lake to Placido Bayou in St. Pete — to the tune of, oh, about five or six miles. Here's why: 

I was driving north on 16th Street, having left a Rays game, when my Prius started riding like a Peterbilt tractor trailer. I’m a little slow on the uptake with car stuff, so it took me a few hundred yards to realize I had a flat rear right tire. I pulled over into the parking lot of a mom-and-pop convenient store, opened the hatch and started looking for the spare.

The lighting was bad, and on a good day it would probably take me ‘til dawn to figure out how to change the tire — if I could even find it. Plus, I wasn’t really digging the vibe in the place. So I figured I’d drive up a little ways, real slow, find a brighter spot, and assess my situation. Blinkers on. 12 mph. I made a right on 9th Ave. No., a left on MLK.

Then I saw the lights of a cop car behind me.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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