Walking – ‘Just Say No’

Written by Andy Bernhardt

7 April 2023

8 reasons why you should never go for a walk….

1) You will bore your listeners into catatonic despair.
People who love walking generally love talking about it. I hate to say it but there is such a thing as a ‘walking bore’. I hate to say it because I am one. The impulse to describe some glimpsed fragment of nature to a listener who couldn’t care less is undiminished by the glazed eyes and vacant expression of the bored. Once into their misty, descriptive stride, walkers rarely pause to consider the view across the table.

2) There will be mud.
After even the slightest downpour the countryside can resemble an ocean of mud, decorated with the occasional tree. Despite the song, there is nothing glorious about mud… apart from its amazing bio-physical constituents which are an incredible creation, the result of possibly millions of years of biodegradation of… (yawn)…  SEE POINT 1

3) You will have to leave your screen and miss out on so much.
Valuable doom-scrolling, wading through a grim churn of dark, apocalyptic news events, glitzy gobbets of celebrity gossip, photo updates of your friends’ shiny, happy lives and other attention-sucking black holes… Stay indoors. FOMO is real.

4) You will sometimes have the demeanour of a happy person.
Being immersed in nature while walking elevates one’s mood. However, happy people are an object of suspicion, envy or fear. Happiness is neither fashionable nor popular. Remember, these are terrible times; best to let the world appear to weigh on you whenever possible.

5) You will find yourself alone with your tiny, sad joys.
“Today, I saw a nuthatch!”  To you this is a thrilling evocation, a momentary glimpse of nature’s endless munifence. To everyone else, it’s, “Blah nature, blah bird, blah beak, blah….”

6) You will wear bad clothes.
If you ever see a walker wearing well-fitting, good-looking apparel make a point of offering directions; they are almost certainly normal people who have strayed too far from the nearest shopping centre. No matter how expensive the gear, the best look the average walker can hope for is that of a washed hobo.

7) And, related to the above, you will get excited about socks.
Every walker knows that comfortable feet via the right boots and socks are ridiculously important. Having first furtively checked that they are out of earshot of normal people, walkers will have excited, whispered exchanges about merino wool, breathable footwear and, inevitably, Gore-Tex. None of this will make sense unless you go walking in the British countryside in a British climate. So best not.

8) You will make strange, animal sounds.
Walkers are unable to sit down or stand up without small, semi-vocalised grunts and sighs. This phenomena normally reserved for the over 40s is, I am gratified to discover, universal amongst walkers no matter how young or fit. If you stay at home hunched over your laptop you will experience none of this distressing behaviour.

Not convinced?  Oh, alright then…