I’m about as eccentric as your next Joe. See me in a crowd and your eyes might pass right over me. A couple of times. And maybe once more – just to be sure. I’m above average height with an athletic build and I have blue eyes. There’s other stuff too, but I want to maintain an air of modesty, so I’ll shelve those for now.
The thing that makes me stand out, though, is my habit of reading in public. No, not on a park bench, not on public transport and not whilst stood on a street corner waiting for my date (aka my wife) to arrive. None of those things. My eccentricity is that I read paperbacks whilst walking along the pavement by the side of the road.
I have this thing about making the most of my time. I dislike wasting long tranches of time on banal things like watching the same scenery that I’ve seen year after year. I want variety, and it’s by reading that I get it.
I once walked from where I live now (York) to the place I was born (Sheffield), which is about 60 to 70 miles. Actually, thinking about it, today is the 4th anniversary of that walk. I was halfway through the journey exactly four years ago today. Here’s a snap I took along the way:
Thing is, I took a book with me, but I never took it out of my bag. Not once. The scenery was new and fresh and exciting and it was enough for me to be seeing the things along the way. I didn’t need anything but what was in front of my eyes as I walked in order to enjoy myself.
But when I’m walking the same old streets every day – to and from work, I need a little bit extra to keep me going.
If you see me walking, feel free to stop and chat with me. Don’t hesitate to ask me the question that’ll be burning on your mind: how come you can do that without walking into things. And I’ll give you the same old cheery answer: practice.
And then I’ll wink, smile and walk on, book in hand, happy as your next lovable eccentric.