“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
“The more you observe politics, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other.”
Although I prefer to hike alone most of the time, I have been known to hike with others. And along with hiking with others comes a certain amount of social activity that is pretty much expected from every member of the group, no matter how big or small the group is. You have to talk to someone at some point. Unless of course, you don’t mind being branded a psycho.
So what is it that hikers talk about? If we have families, kids are always the topic of conversation. Our spouses, significant others and jobs all play a part in what we discuss as we head down the trail. Recent news is on the list, the latest disaster and of course the odds and ends of everyday life. These seem to be pretty safe topics.
But then what happens after the first five minutes and you’ve made it through that list and you still have 7 miles to go? What in the world do you talk about? What might be a conversation starter?
Well if you will indulge me for just a second I will tell you what not talk about. Under no circumstance, even under the threat of death, should politics ever be discussed. The only caveat to this might be is if you know that you and your fellow hikers all think along the same line. If I am in your group, you might as well forget it.
I know my political trajectory is far off and away than most hikers I know and that’s ok. I know my thinking is not everyone’s cup of tea. But then again, if we all thought the same then what would we have to fight with each other about?
I have been hiking with a dear friend for over twenty years now. He was there last summer and saved my ass when I fractured my ankle and was in renal failure. Believe it or not, we are on the total ends of the political spectrum. He leans a lot to the left and I am more in the Libertarian camp. So even when it is just the two of us hiking, I have to make the announcement. NO POLITICS. Because what ends up happening is either he or I will say something that will piss the other one off and then everything will go off the rails.
I learned a long time ago that a friendship is not worth getting all hot and bothered about some stupid politician. Am I right? Now I do know people who make it their mission to say the vilest things just to get me angry. I just don’t hike with them anymore.
It’s as simple as that.