Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting There

Hiking is not a metaphor for life. If it were, only death would be waiting there at the top of the mountain. Hiking, though, is a metaphor. No, not for “the journey” (sooooo eighties). I hope we’ve all come to the realization that the goal is definitely more important than the journey. You can wander in the wilderness if you want, but I gotta have a goal.

Don’t let anyone kid you about this. Getting there is everything. The top, the pinnacle, the peak, the meatball on top of Old Smoky!

As I’m hiking up a mountain I’m ever-mindful of the goal. The journey is toning my legs and shaping my rear—both very nice things for the journey to do—but my mind is focused on achieving something in measured, determined steps.

This weekend Bruno the Asian/Austrian Fusion Chef and I hiked up the Wallberg near Tegernsee about forty-five minutes away from my home in Munich. It’s a hike we’ve done many times before, but we wanted to get back home in time to watch Germany beat the Marmite out of England.

Bruno the Asian/Austrain Fusion Chef was a bit out of shape, so we stopped after about thirty minutes for a short break on a bench overlooking the lake. We were sharing a grapefruit and catching our breath when an elderly couple came up the path.

“Would you like to take a break?” I asked them in German. “We can get up.” There was only one bench.

“Already?” the woman said and laughed. “We don’t need a break yet.”

Hiking is also a metaphor for competition. See, this harmless-looking elderly lady just took a jab at us. I came back with the explanation that Bruno the Asian/Austrian Fusion Chef had recently put on so much weight that he was in danger of having a heart attack. I, on the other hand, could run up the damned mountain in five seconds flat.

The hike up the Wallberg should take the person of average condition two hours and thirty minutes. We made it in one hour and forty-five minutes. Ha. We won. See, it’s all about competition. Walking better, faster, cuter than the other hikers. Sweating more profusely. Spitting occasionally to demonstrate one’s manhood. Taking pictures of pretty little flowers to demonstrate one’s softer side.

As I’m hiking up my metaphorical mountains this year, I’m going to keep my mind on the goal and walk faster than the others. The journey is so overrated.

I must be off,