I’m always getting fooled into reading Colin Fletcher. At first, he’s a dreamy companion, luring you into the woods on his solitary walks, describing how great it is to load up a backpack and hike into the forest for a few days to daydream and watch nature. He quotes Robert Musil, “It is not the case that we reflect on things. Rather, things think themselves out within us.” But then his sleazy pervy old man personality revs up like a chainsaw cutting down redwood trees.”… one markedly comely damsel wore shorts bearing the printed message: ‘Dangerous curves ahead!’ The shorts fitted her perfectly.” Then he goes on to leer at a group of college-aged kids skinnydipping in a lake for 15 minutes before one of the women noticed him and “the show ended.” Later, he’s walking in a city, “pausing occasionally to look back over a panorama of grass-covered hills that rose smooth and curving and beautiful as my companion’s breasts.”
In Brazil, he titters over the short skirts and then releases this observation at a lookout point: “A jaded young wife with a tight mouth kept glancing from the stupendous vista to the humdrum husband beside her. A thin, lonely-looking man seemed to be searching for a homosexual mate. Two girls chattered, high-pitched.”
At its lowest point, he waxes philosophic about how great the AIDS virus is at culling human population down, wishing it into a virus that “spread quickly and devastatingly, then it might well solve the world’s most pressing current problem, and in a nondisruptive way.” Bananas. Thankfully he has a heart attack at the end of the book while watching the Rose Bowl at his doctor’s house, so we know he’s not going to live forever.