Is there such a thing as a 'good walk'?
Bored? Go for a walk! Depressed? Walk it off! Horny?! Take a walk!!! Why is it that I get the same advice time and time again?
Advice, which at first hearing seems unhelpful and somewhat cliche. I am not an old man, who likes to walk with his trusty walking stick, and his pigeon feeding bread, giving sweets to little children before beating them away, as the gin kicks in, in a bitter tirade about young people having no manners anymore. Don't get me wrong. That sounds like great fun, but those experiences are in the distant future. The question is, what use is a walk to someone like me, a man in his late twenties, who lives in an ordinary town in an ordinary western country? I decided to find out whether there really is something to this age old activity.
So, I put on some warm clothes, slipped into some trainers, and opened my mind to all the possibilities. As I pulled out from my street onto the main road, the sun was just about to set. The lingering clouds on the horizon painted a classic picture of an autumn sunset. I must admit, for a few minutes, i walked with a distinct sense of optimism and calm, as if i was setting off on an adventure. For a second, a voice started singing in my head, 'Always a-look on the bright side of life..'. Unwittingly, my lips formed a circle, my tongue positioned itself behind my lower teeth, and my lungs began to blow. I realised later, i was whistling. I was talking a walk at sunset, and I was whistling. Seriously.
But then, things started to turn for the worse. The sun had set. I looked at the road ahead and saw a dog walker approaching me from the distance. He reached me surprisingly quickly. This initially confused me, until i worked out that the guy was massive, as opposed to a normal sized person further away. A thick-necked middle-aged man, well over six foot tall, built like a modern gladiator, with the eyes of a rapist. I wasn't sure that he was the friendly type, so I questioned whether to say 'good evening'. I've heard walkers say that to each other in films and on television. 'He is probably not a killer...', I told myself, '...just a regular giant, walking his huge beast'.
At that point, I froze, and then quickly defrosted, trying not to show any fear. Like many, I am not really a dog person, or a cat person. I don't mind mice or small children. As a child, I lived near a very aggressive wolf-like dog, who continuously turned my trip to school into a living nightmare. Hence, i tend to keep away from man's best friend. Anyways, I locked my childhood fears away in a dark part of my mind just before we were in touching distance. However, once again, that was simply not enough. I attempted to say 'Good evening', but was firmly denied by an almighty noise coming from the beast. 'Bark! Woof! Grrr!', said the dog. I jumped away from the deadly creature, and straight into a fairly deep puddle. Pulling the dog away with a nonchalant jerk of his Schwarzenegger arm, the man turned his head back, and said 'Good evening'.
I immediately rushed back home, after a couple of minutes obviously, at a slow pace, so I did not catch up to them, cursing the day I decided to take a walk with no specified destination or purpose. Overall, I believe that experience is conclusive proof that there is no such thing as a good walk. I urge anyone who contemplates doing a similar activity to seriously reconsider.