Thursday, January 31, 2013
In Which I Become the Poster Child for the "Indoorsy" Crowd
Ask my cousin Amy if I'd like to go camping some time. Ask her if she thinks I want to join you on a fishing trip or a 5-mile run. Ask her if it's possible that I might have some golf clubs you can borrow while you're in town.
I can feel her tectonic plate shifting eye roll from halfway across the country.
When we were kids, she constantly tried to convince me to put down my book and join her in the great outdoors to run and frolic and poke at things with sticks. She failed. I never liked to get wet or muddy or dusty or touch bugs or get mosquito bites or have to climb things or run or play games that make you sweaty.
To this day, the sun is always too bright or the wind is too cold and the heat makes me lethargic or there's snow in my boots. I have weak ankles and hay fever. Sitting on the ground makes my butt go numb and I hate to get too close to things that make me feel itchy. Meanwhile, it's always about 70° and comfy on my couch. My books are there, my crossword puzzles, the wifi; I can have a nice cup of coffee and watch some TV. Why bother to put on shoes and go outside? What is out there that is so fascinating?
Everything I like to do is inside. Everything I think is interesting or time-consuming is found inside my house. I mean, yes, you can read a magazine or listen to music outside. You can cook outside, but why would you bother? It's less comfortable and messier out there. There's nowhere to wash your hands. The light is better for reading inside and I won't get a sunburn and bugs won't fly up my nose while I'm trying to relax. All my cooking implements are in my kitchen drawers and I own an expensive dishwasher, so why make things extra hard on myself by pretending that cooking like a Mongolian tribal yurt-dweller is more fun. It isn't. Cuisinarts are more fun. Watching cat videos on the Internet is more fun than getting poison ivy and blisters. Don't try to convince me that it isn't.
And I never understand people's obsession with fresh air. Fresh air? Seriously, is the air outside my back door really all that much fresher than the air inside the door? And I live in a city, so I'll bet you a hundred bucks that the air out there isn't fresh at all, in any way, shape, or form. Besides, my kitchen air often smells like tacos or chocolate chip cookies. How could the smell of stagnant pond water or wild animals ever beat tacos? It can't. Fresh air is totally overrated.
Oh, don't even start with the whole exercise is good for you, endorphins, blah blah blah. Sure, sure, you feel so great after you attempt to murder yourself riding your bike up a huge hill or falling off the side of a mountain. BS. You know what makes me feel really great? Running water and central heat/air. A nice soak in the tub or a hot, steamy shower and an afternoon nap in a cozy bed with flannel sheets and extra pillows. If I want to get my heart rate up, I'll put some Rage Against the Machine on the stereo and read one of Bill O'Reilly's books about "history." That's a much cheaper way to make myself have a stroke than taking up cross-country skiing.
The worst thing of all, the worst thing EVER, is the mother-guilt trip society likes to lay on us indoorsy types. Human children are apparently feral primates who must spend every waking moment in all weathers getting in touch with their primal side by wallowing in a mud pit somewhere and eating rocks. Any mother who doesn't want to spend all her time trapped on a park bench listening to a stranger go on and on about her divorce so that her chimp offspring can jump from the top of a slide and break their clavicle (hence, everyone misses dinner while sitting in the ER for five hours) is a lousy, negligent mother. What, kids can't be "free range" in the basement? That's why we put carpet in down there. I need to see a return on my investment.
I promise you, the last thing in the world I want to do is go down there and helicopter over them. If I go anywhere near them while they're playing, they might try to "fix" my hair again. No thanks. They actually have more freedom in the playroom than they do outside because they are still too young to remember not to run into traffic so I have to sit out there and yell at them the whole afternoon. My time is really better spent making sure they have clean underwear for school tomorrow.
Isn't that what Dads are for, anyway? They can't match outfits to save their lives and they never know when the kid's last dose of Tylenol was, so why can't they be the ones to go out into the world and build snowmen and drag 50 lbs. of tantrum down the street on a sled and get a kid all wrapped from head to toe in gear only to have to come right back inside ten seconds later to pee?? Why do I have to do everything? Despite his impressive collection of merit badges, Mike is secretly as indoorsy as I am, but I have to give him credit for taking one for the team when it comes to the bikes and the sprinklers and the mud pits. Just as he's somehow always the one to end up raking the leaves in the Fall (Don't look at me! I like the way they look out there. Let's just leave 'em...), he's usually the one standing out in the driveway yelling at the kids not to run into the street. God bless him.
While they're out there getting their primate on, I'll be hiding under a blanket with my iPhone and a box of Girl Scout cookies (Now, THAT is what Scouting is actually good for!) if anyone REALLY needs me. But somebody better be bleeding out of their eyeballs or I don't want to hear about it. Go outside now and give Mother some peace and quiet. My stories are about to be on...