Somewhere in Northern California, a woman walked down a roadside, past the typical suburban sprawl that California is so famous for. The type of surroundings that might be appealing to you if you are a sleep-deprived teenager, trying to find the surrealism in a Rite Aid parking lot, or an active satirist of the cultural wasteland that is America. But she was neither, and at a certain point she turned away from the street, fixed a direction (east-by-northeast, approximately), and started walking.

She didn't deviate from this course, and she didn't deviate from her pace. A normal walking pace is four miles per hour, but she kept up a speed of five miles per hour. She was a short woman, but she kept a long, regular stride. She also didn't deter from her course, except for when absolutely necessary, such as stepping around a tree, and then only by a foot or so. When she reached a fence, without breaking her stride, she would move over it. For most obstacles, she would just gather her small center of gravity together, and smoothly launch herself through the obstacle, and then continue on, at the same pace. She didn't stop for private property, and she walked across roadways, even highways and freeways, with hardly a delay in her forward pace. She kept up the pace of five miles per hour throughout the night. At five miles per hour, it is possible to go fifty miles in ten hours, and that is exactly what she did. It is improbably to keep up a walking pace like that over the course of a night. It is improbable to walk in one direction, unerringly, through any sorts of obstacles. That it was improbable without being impossible was why she did it. Why she had been doing it for so long.

At long last, having passed through the suburbs, the fields, the fences and hedges, the watercourses, and the wilderness of Northern California, she reached a goal, as the washed out grey light of morning came upon her. This was the terminal point of this walk, along the bright lit corridor of suburbs and truck stops that marked I-5. The warm cocoon of intent that had kept her mind only looking at the next obstacle started to shed away from her, and the noisy, crackling world started to impinge upon her senses. Her focal length expanded outwards, with somewhat disheartening feelings.

It might be thought that the type of person who could walk all night in a straight line would follow up by finding a back alley to curl up in and a curb for a pillow. But instead, she went to a mid level hotel and simply asked for a room, paying for it by a major credit card. She went up into her room, and found, unusually enough, a free can of diet Coke left in the minifridge. Why the maid service hadn't removed it was an unknown, but hardly an important improbability, compared to her adventure. She drank the diet Coke, and then drank several cups of water, and immersed herself in the plastic comfort of the hotel bed. She considered turning on the television for some background noise while she turned to sleep, but thought better of it, and curled up with nothing but the hum of the air conditioner to see her towards sleep.

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