‘It was a warm afternoon in early September when I first met the Illustrated Man. Walking along an asphalt road, I was on the final leg of a two weeks’ walking tour of Wisconsin. Late in the afternoon I stopped, ate some pork, beans, and a doughnut, and was preparing to stretch out and read when the Illustrated Man walked over the hill and stood for a moment against the sky.”
Those are the opening lines of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, a collection of linked short stories posing as a novel. I can’t say I’d forgotten the lines because I’ve never actually read the book from beginning to end, though I have read at least one of the stories it contains – ‘The Veldt.’
But I have seen the movie and I have never forgotten the sight of Rod Steiger, all naked and tatted up. The book describes him as “a walking treasure gallery.”
Gotta say I didn’t know that people went to Wisconsin on walking tours, but it seems they very definitely do. The state seems to be dense with walkers and walking trails.
When I first lived in Los Angeles, Ray Bradbury was alive and well and doing a lot of public appearances around town, many of them in Glendale. I don’t know how much of a walker he was but sometimes apparently he walked while wearing a suit, like this:
And I think he must have been rather proud of his legs, perhaps honed and toned by walking, because he was always showing them off in shorts; like this:
Tangentially I have been reading Museum Without Walls,some collected essays by another writer who also walks while wearing a suit, at least when the cameras are on him; Jonathan Meades, a man I can’t quite imagine in shorts.