A nice day. A nice breeze. A nice walk, all 17 miles of it. I’m unsure why, but I also saw as many runners on the road today as I’ve seen in a long while, perhaps it was the dry but much cooler weather. I even saw two friends run past me towards the end of the afternoon, looking a bit stronger than I felt at the time. There was some light rain for a couple of short stints but that served merely as a refresher rather than a soaker. All in all, a decent afternoon’s work, if work is what walking is.
Ah, yes, rants. 61 is I think where we’re up to, from when they fizzled out a year or two ago. Given that one of my previous rants saw me lose two Facebook “friends”, both of whom I had known in “real life” – one defriended / unfriended me and the other vice versa – I approach this restart with trepidation. It was all to do with me ranting about owners saying that their dog was “only playing” when jumping at me, while if the owner had done the same, there would have been justification for a charge of assault. I have never been an animal lover, but I am not an animal hater by any means, but the two took exception to my words, sending private abusive messages as well as reporting me, causing me to receive a warning from the Facebook powers that be (my only one to date). I’ve seen far worse.
So – Rant #61. I had walked very easily and steadily for 6 miles before settling down to a peaceful coffee. Two young lads came in and sat at the table next tome, spouting rubbish (mainly) about life and football. It is hard not to eavesdrop when this happens but there is one phrase that causes my temperature, heart rate and blood pressure to rise almost uncontrollably. “It’s a no brainer”. Yes, Manchester City might win the league, but it is not a no brainer, especially in September. Thinking outside the box, drill down, blue sky thinking, annoying but just about tolerable. But, what is a no brainer? If I disagree, it means I have no brain? It is the antithesis of thoroughness in an argument. You might as well say, “This is the answer. It is impossible to disagree and if you do, you are an idiot”. Negotiating, influencing, persuading. No. Just say “it’s a no brainer” and everything is sorted. End of.
Along similar lines, I have great respect for Professor Brian Cox, his intelligence, his knowledge and his expertise. However, some time ago, he lost a massive chunk of respect from me when he responded to a question on the authenticity of the moon landings with (paraphrasing) “if you don’t think man went to the moon, then you’re a nob”. What I would have expected from a man of his background would be something along the lines of….if you look at the arguments and evidence presented by [whoever, whatever etc.] it is hard to argue against the opinion that man did go to the moon…… What ever has happened to the quest for knowledge through critical argument? Is no-one allowed to question current the scientific line? Whether or not the moon landings were real or faked is not the argument here – it is the quality of the discourse that is so impoverished. Conspiracy theorists are not going to be persuaded that, because PBC says that they’re a nob, they had now better believe that man did go to the moon. If that is really the quality of insight we are going to expect from experts, maybe that is why there are some (not me) who “are fed up of hearing from experts”. Certainly if I had a child at school who asked a question to one of their teachers, say, about whether aliens ever landed on Earth, I wouldn’t expect a response of “if you think that, then you’re a nob”. I wouldn’t be surprised if the teacher were then suspended. Let’s have proper debate. Come on. It’s a no brainer.
Back to the walking. Yes, walking is supposed to free and declutter my mind. The no brainer incident drove me to some of my most aggressive spells of walking for about an hour, until I had laughed it off, and become a bit heavy-legged. The good news is that my feet are becoming more resilient again, though I was becoming very slightly weary in the last mile or two. No doubt I could have clocked up a few more miles if I’d had to. I’ll be looking to undertake at least one walk per week of about this distance or greater, through the autumn and winter. That should give me a body, lungs and feet to withstand whatever 2017 challenges throw at them. Even if I am a nob.