At its best, the Believer delivers essays and dialogues about fascinations you didn't know you had. I've walked through war zones and across four states and still I was surprised I made it to the end of a lengthy correspondence about walking. It helped that the correspondents—writers Will Self and Geoff Nicholson—were several kinds of hilarious. Forgive me, but what stuck with me and what I want to share with you now was Nicholson's list of similarities between walking and sex, which he created with the idea of "sexing up" his book The Lost Art of Walking. Here are his ruminations on the subject:
Essential similarities: They're both basic, simple, repetitive activities that just about everybody does, and yet they're both capable of great sophistication and elaboration. They can both be sources of fantastic pleasure, but there are times when they can both feel like hard work. They're both things that some people like to do alone, that some like to do with just one other person, and that others like to do in groups of various sizes. And some people like to wear special clothing while they're doing it. And then, essential differences: One: although I'm sure you can catch various diseases while you're walking, they're different from the sort you can catch while having sex. Two: whereas walking is the kind of activity that can be happily and legally undertaken in public with a dog...At that point I abandoned my ruminations; this seemed too flippant even by my standards.