Wednesday, October 31, 2007

From: Snook (The Elder) at Home

Of Inadmissible Hobbies

People who boast of a love of walking confuse me. It seems to me that that's rather like saying that you love clipping your fingernails or cleaning your ears.

I don't deny that you might actually enjoy walking, but to brag of this as though it were of a piece with undertaking, say, a translation of the works of Baudelaire, or building your own Han Dynasty junk is, I'm afraid, the stuff of toddlers.

Now, a love of running I can allow as a boast. I happen to think it an utterly tedious and damaging activity--beloved of the sort of dickhead who'll spoil a soirée by complaining of your smoking, only to upstage your righteous indignation by dying of a heart attack two weeks later--but I'll accept that it is remarkable insofar as it isn't something that everyone does, repeatedly, pretty much every day of their lives.

I lived in Switzerland for a time, and would often of a weekend take myself on hikes through the lowlands of the Jura. This was jolly for me, and I enjoyed it very much. I even went so far as to purchase a book of the best walking trails in the canton. But this wasn't a love of walking so much as it was a love of scenery, surely ... Indeed, I should call it a mere appreciation of scenery in that particular case. I find the Swiss landscape to be a bit much, don't you? You half expect Walt Disney to have had something to do with it.