In need of a distraction-part two, the unconscious bias

I have blogged recently about trying to distract myself from neck pain. One of the suggestions was that I drop a 7 pound hammer on my toe, but I declined to take this advice not just because it was given by Henry, but because I like to walk. That seems to be one of the few things that doesn’t hurt and sometimes even loosens up my neck a bit.

Fortunately, although Omaha is a city with huge urban sprawl, there are wonderful bike trails that move along creeks and streams in between various lakes throughout the city. As I mentioned, the city itself is very spread out with the Eastern border being the Missouri River (which is in danger of flooding right now) and separates downtown Omaha from the town of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

We happen to live at the western end of the city and there are a wide variety of walks that I enjoy not far from where I live. One of my favorite haunts is/was Lake Zorinsky, named after the first Jewish Mayor of Omaha, Edward Zorinsky and a member of my “tribe”, as Henry would say.

This is a beautiful place to walk or bike with the lake narrowing at one area and being crossed by a bridge on 168th St. and making a figure 8 trail around the lake. The west side, in particular is very wild and aside from the birdlife, deer and wild turkeys can frequently be seen.

The lake is stocked with fish and draws many fishermen from the area. Some fish from quiet spots by the side of the lake or in small boats or canoes, while others launch motorized boats from a special dock. Unfortunately, a colonizing form of mussel probably from the Great Lakes, was recently identified in Lake Zorinsky, causing the engineering corps to make an executive decision and drain the lake. The rationale was that before the winter, it was calculated that if the water was drained or very low, the mussels would freeze and die and the lake would later be refilled. Unfortunately, right now it’s quite an eyesore.

Having been an Omaha for almost 8 years and being an avid walker I am pretty familiar with most of the nice trails. Since on weekends I can usually manage to find a couple hours to walk (about 4-5 miles in one direction and 4-5 miles back), I get an opportunity to see quite a few areas of the city. Now that my favorite lake has become Lake non grata, I find myself enjoying a particular walk down the very long West Papio trail. I can walk for about 5 min. through my neighborhood until I come to a small and little-known Park trail called Woodhaven Park.

This leads to the main trail, where I can turn and walk along the stream either south or north. There are numerous bridges to cross the stream and this trail probably goes 15 or 20 miles, not including its connection with the lake.

A week ago, I even saw a garden-variety snake by the side of the trail.

Today, in need for my distraction, I took the south route and decided to take a new fork in the path. It was not the prettiest route, as after three or 4 miles it moved into semi-industrial area. But I was curious to see where the trail would lead and I went on walking forward for close to an hour. Finally, I arrived at an underpass going right under a street. The area looked vaguely familiar, but I could not quite place it-I knew I had gone south and knew approximately where I was, but this was not one of the main roads I had expected to see.

With mounting curiosity I climbed up from the underpass and could see a small plaza with a sandwich/coffee shop, a parking lot for a 24-hour gym, and the medical imaging company. The name was familiar, something I knew that I had seen, but could not quite place. I moved along down the sidewalk to try and get my bearings and suddenly I could see it: the words were printed clearly on the side of the building for all to see. Right in front of me, less than 50 yards away stood “Community Rehab“–the very place that I have been doing physical therapy three times a week this past month.

Now how is that for an unconscious bias when looking for a distraction?

About Steve Caplan

I am a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where I mentor a group of about 10 students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers working on endocytic protein trafficking. My first lablit novel, "Matter Over Mind," is about a biomedical researcher seeking tenure and struggling to overcome the consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. Lablit novel #2, "Welcome Home, Sir," published by Anaphora Literary Press, deals with a hypochondriac principal investigator whose service in the army and post-traumatic stress disorder actually prepare him well for academic, but not personal success. Novel #3, "A Degree of Betrayal," is an academic murder mystery that is now in press! All views expressed are my own, of course--after all, I hate advertising. http://www.stevecaplan.net
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3 Responses to In need of a distraction-part two, the unconscious bias

  1. Great post. It’s really great you’ve got all those nice walks near your house.

    I can’t believe they drained a lake to try to kill zebra mussels! Think of all the other things they axed in the process. This is terribly non-PC, but speaking as someone who lived near the Great Lakes in the 70s, an animal that can filter out polluted water so efficiently is not necessarily such a bad thing, non-native though it may be…

  2. Steve Caplan says:

    It’s probably pressure from the fishermen- and interestingly, the zebra mussel probably came from a boat that had previously been in one of the Great Lakes.

    Zorinsky is also the 2nd lake that was drained for the same reason since we’vew been here. The other has since been filled again apparently successfully.

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