I just got home from spending a week at a writer’s workshop at South Lake Tahoe, CA. (Sometimes I write “in Lake Tahoe,” but I understand that while one can be “in” Omaha, Nebraska, one cannot actually be “in” Lake Tahoe unless one wants to get very wet.) So just about everyone I know who professes a love for the “Great Outdoors” is probably very jealous. But the whole outdoors thing is virtually wasted on me. I loved the workshop and being in the cabin in the woods; it’s all very Waldonesque. But I want to end every sentence with the phrase “if you like that sort of thing” and hastily add “which I don’t.”
Don’t get me wrong (oh, go ahead, it won’t bother me), I have nothing against the out-of-doors per se, if you like that sort of thing, which I don’t. I just have a few minor complaints and reasons why I prefer to be in-of-doors.
First of all, there are bugs outside. Flying bugs, crawling bugs, spiders (which, I know, are technically not bugs), biting bugs, blood sucking bugs. Mosquitoes and flies and (shudder!) ticks. Indoors there may be bugs, but you can kill them or pay to have them killed, which I prefer.
Outdoors there is weather. And it is entirely arbitrary and somewhat whimsical. Too cold or too hot, depending on the season. Rain or snow. Ice and wind. Tornadoes, hurricanes. Also forest fires, mudslides, earthquakes and avalanches, which are not weather, but just Mother Nature trying to be funny. People always tell you “dress in layers,” which is terrific advice for people who are not smart enough to stay inside where the only layers you need are in your lasagna.
In-doors we have air conditioning. We have heat. We have cable and wi-fi and streaming videos. We have books and e-books and newspapers. We have electricity and lights! We have food and coffee (!!!) and we don’t waste them on trying to “keep warm.” We have electronic games and e-mail and Facebook and stupid blogs and Twitter. You can get to some of these things outside, too, but why? Why are you out there? Did your car break down on your way to something fun to do inside? Going to the movies or a concert or a play or out to eat? Otherwise, I don’t understand. Oh, and one more thing that you weird outdoors people will never fully appreciate, apparently: indoor plumbing. Yes, bathrooms! Not outhouses (gross) or just behind a tree somewhere (grosser), but real bathrooms with toilets and hot water and showers and tubs.
So, anyway, kids, take my advice: don’t go outside no matter what anyone says about it unless the building you are in is on fire. Stay inside. Watch TV. Order delivery. The phone and the internet are your best friends and they will keep you inside where it is nice and safe and warm. Just remember two words from your Uncle Ed: Outside bad.