By Edward Usher
As I have ruled myself out of cycling, buses are foul and driving is for mugs, this morning I decided to walk to school. “It will help you have ideas,” my housemate declared knowledgeably, between mouthfuls of breakfast crumpet. “It’s an excellent suggestion.” And so I set off into the cold of the morning, with bad shoes for walking and in much anticipation of the brilliant thought that would surely materialise.
On my way I passed many people, of many ages and in many occupations. There were toddlers dancing schoolwards, sluggish guardians in tow. There were bleary-eyed recent graduates lugging themselves to work, legs wearied by mountains of debt and the government’s broken promises. There were men in white vans, hanging half out of the window, joy writ large all over their pudgy faces as they proudly demonstrated both their modernity and their immaculate knowledge of the highway code to any female driver unfortunate enough to cross their path. All in all, it was an ordinary day.
I walked and I waited, but nothing happened. No glorious insight. No fascinating glimpse into the nether regions of the human condition. Nothing other than a spectacularly cold face. Walking, it seemed, was light exercise in futility. I had gained nothing more than a minor blister and the mild stench of dog shit on my heel.
But to think like that would be silly. Often, the benefits of an action are not immediately felt, or even immediately clear. This we witness, of course, when we write personas or get rid of page three. One mustn’t give up so easily.
In light of all this, today I got up to set off into morning again, with renewed hope and more appropriate attire. “Did you get any ideas?” asked my housemate, a mouth full of toast. “Not really.” I replied. “Oh well,” he said. “Maybe today.”