Written by Jenny Morrill

Lifestyle

Walking on your own? You must be a murderer

Lock your doors and secure your valuables: Jenny Morrill is on the prowl. Or maybe she’s just, y’know, going for a stroll?

Illustration by Joanna Neary.

Illustration by Joanna Neary.

I’m a bit overweight. This is because of genetics and magic, and has nothing to do with vodka and laptop-sized bars of Galaxy. Recently, I’ve decided I’m going to lose a billion stone.

I’ve been doing the usual dieting things. I joined Slimming World, although if I’m honest with myself I only go to get free stickers. I’ve been eating these new things I found called ‘vegetables’, which are green and give me weird smelling wee. And I’ve been exercising.

I started my exercise journey by Googling “old lady aerobics for people who have no knees and are lazy”, but that didn’t come up with many results. So I’ve started walking. My local area is half town, half countryside, so there are some lovely walking routes. That is, they’re lovely if you’re doing the right sort of walking.

For the uninitiated, in order to do the right sort of walking, you have to have one of the following:

• A dog
• Another person walking with you
• A wistful expression while sad piano music plays (walking on the beach only).

The problem is, I’m having trouble with the above. I don’t have a dog because I’m allergic, also the local old ladies seem to have commandeered all the dogs. And a lot of the time my other half can’t come walking with me; he’s too busy doing whatever it is he does. I don’t know, mending or something.

Since there isn’t anyone else whose company I can stand for more than four and a half minutes, sometimes I have to break a social taboo and go walking on my own. I don’t mind this, I like walking on my own. It gives me a chance to think.

I usually go walking in the local woods. The woods near me are beautiful, and I love to wander round them like a fat arsed tree nymph. I put music on and lose myself in my surroundings, until I remember that I look strange, because I am not adhering to the rules of walking.

“People are naturally suspicious of people who choose to do things on their own. Why would you possibly do something on your own rather than with other people? Something must be wrong with you if you prefer your own company.”

The rules of walking are as follows: you must either have an obvious purpose, or a companion. If you have neither of these things, you will automatically be shunned, and labelled as a weirdo, a mugger, or someone looking for a good place to bury a body.

Here are some examples:

• Walking round housing estate with dog – dog walker
• Walking round housing estate alone – peeping Tom

• Walking in woods with partner – romantic stroll
• Walking in woods alone – murderer

• Walking in park with friends – fun day out
• Walking in park alone – on the verge of a nervous breakdown, especially if you dare to have any facial expression other than ‘blank’.

I asked my boyfriend if he could think of any examples. His contribution was: “Yeah, a man would look OK if he was carrying a drill or something. He’d look like a builder.”

This raised all sorts of questions in my head. What sort of builder would walk round carrying a drill? Is there some guy who goes door to door in case someone needs emergency drilling doing? Where are his other tools? Why isn’t he in a van where he belongs? What kind of builder would have a drill and nothing else? In a nutshell, my boyfriend is a div.

However, he did help in another way. We were discussing this while having a mooch around the park, and we decided to experiment. There are two main kids’ playgrounds in our park. We passed the first one as a couple, and no one batted an eyelid. My boyfriend walked past the second one on his own while I hid, and all the mums started giving him looks. For reasons I can’t fathom, he made this 10 times worse by putting his hands behind his back in the manner of a jovial headmaster.

People are naturally suspicious of people who choose to do things on their own. Why would you possibly do something on your own rather than with other people? Something must be wrong with you if you prefer your own company. You must have an ulterior motive. In the same way as going solo at the cinema or in a restaurant is kind of a no-no, going for a walk on your own seems to be one of those things you just don’t do, because you just don’t.

“You must either have an obvious purpose, or a companion. If you have neither of these things, you will automatically be shunned, and labelled as a weirdo, a mugger, or someone looking for a good place to bury a body.”

I don’t understand where people have picked up the idea that you need a sidekick or a prop in order to be outside. If you have a phone you’re good, because you’re clearly arranging to meet someone. If you have a dog, you’re outside for the dog’s benefit. Of course you’d rather be indoors with a bunch of people, but you have to do this chore first. Even a handbag can work wonders, as it shows that you have somewhere to go, and aren’t just aimlessly wandering for the sake of it.

But sod that, because I like going out walking on my own. Not only do I like walking on my own, I also like muttering to myself and stopping for a fart every now and then. I would like to take this opportunity to make it clear that walking and farting does not make me a murderer. I’m just trying to burn some calories so I can go home and have a Cornetto.

I should point out that these rules do not apply to running. It’s perfectly acceptable to go running on your own, as long as you’re wearing the special running uniform of leggings and a bra. However, at the moment running is out of the question for me because, in a weird parallel universe version of Speed, I explode and die if I go over 4mph.

@theworldofcrap

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Written by Jenny Morrill

Jenny writes for Den of Geek and anywhere else that will listen. To date, the most Trios she has eaten in a row is 20. Her blog is the place to be if you like Bungle and expired food. worldofcrap.co.uk