Yesterday, I went for a walk in the park, as I do most days (because I’m too stupid to run as a form of exercise without nearly dying of a heart attack) and, to my surprise, found a crap-load of people walking there too! Normally, I walk because it’s a break from connectivity and other people, where I’m basically hanging out with people all the time, what with Facebook and WordPress messages popping up like moles to be whacked in an arcade; I don’t dislike human contact, but an hour removed from it can be a welcome relief. Also, it gives me time to think about myself, what I’m doing, and what I would like to do, which is important considering the relative relentlessness of my normal routine, which usually consists of marathoning a TV show while talking on Facebook while playing Football Manager.
But those most strange of creatures – other people – were out in force in the park yesterday; there were old people, children, people my age, as well as a mixture of ethnic identities that would make Coca-Cola envious. I suppose I’d normally associated long walks in the park with older people doing some exercise, young parents in over their heads and single people with slightly too many dogs, but those archetypes were few and far between compared to the great numbers of kids my age lounging over benches smoking cigarettes in ways that might have been considered threatening, if there wasn’t a playground covered in delighted children over their shoulder.
Perhaps I’d underestimated the universal appeal of walking in the park (it’s relaxing, it’s warm, there’s nature and stuff), and I started to consider myself differently as a result. Not in a major way, but I considered my interests and identity – a metal-listening teenage boy wearing a black hoody and ripped tracksuit – and how others may have been equally surprised to see one of me wandering around the park gawking at birds, as I was to see them.
And in a society with increasingly divided interests – as we can customise our news feeds on sites like Facebook to show us only the things that we think we’ll like, rather than having a wider pool of potentially interesting things to sift through – these universal interests are rather uncommon; me and my friend like video games, and we like football video games, but these industries have been so divided up that I like FM, and they like FIFA, so we have nothing to talk about.
In the same way that Nerdfighteria’s Esther Day has a meaning beyond the appreciation of the individual Esther Earl – telling people you love them, as she did – I’d like my clunkily-named holiday, NPGFAWITP, to reflect more than doddering about a council-approved patch of grass, lakes and dog faeces. I’d like this holiday to reflect things that we all, as living creatures, can enjoy together; perhaps not all the time, but there’s certainly something fun about going for a walk round the park every once in a while.
And by the way, I can totally just create holidays like that – it’s the Internet, so once I’ve said it, it’s true.