Monday, October 22, 2012

"This fresh air is getting into my lungs."*

   One of my favorite quotes of all time is from a calendar my mom gave me by Anne Taintor. The page featured a woman in a beautiful nightgown lying on a big, silky bed with her arm above her head and a huge smile on her face. The quote above was, “I love not camping.”
   Recently I was watching a movie where one character wanted to go to the beach and the other character wasn’t going to go because of ticks/sand/sunburn etc. And the one that was going to the beach said to the other, “Enjoy the great indoors.”
   Both of these quotes mean a lot to me, because over the years I’ve come to realize that I don’t really love communing with nature, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People always talk about long walks on the beach and camping under the stars. They like to brag about SCUBA diving and skiing and running marathons. All of these things sound shitty to me.
   I don’t like sand in my shoes, clothes, hair or underpants. I burn approximately 8 seconds after stepping outdoors without a burqa. I don’t like sleeping on the ground and then waking up to spiders spooning me. (I thought sleeping on the ground was for people who couldn’t get a sober ride home from a party?) I don’t like sharks so I don’t try to go under the ocean’s surface to find them. I might enjoy skiing if I didn’t hate being cold and wasn’t afraid of falling. I only like running when I’m being chased, and even then I’m not a huge fan.
   The point I’m making is that I do enjoy nature and even love it a little bit, but I can appreciate it so much better from inside.
   See, when I’m inside, I can have things like heat, insulation, and air conditioning. I have electricity in my apartment, so I can do things like turn on lights and surf the Interwebs (the only web I like, incidentally, is the Interweb. Or the kind that is made by practicing to deceive—but I don’t like that kind too much, either. Not because honesty's best. Honesty's just way easier). I can do things like watch TV or read my book well after the sun has set. 
Air conditioning: I love not not having air conditioning.
   Another thing I like about the great indoors is the presence of plumbing. I really enjoy things like using a toilet for my business and being able to wipe with toilet paper and then flush and never see that business (or anyone else’s business) ever again. I like showering with water that comes from a tap (not a river or a stream) and is warm or even hot. And potable! Because I also enjoy drinking water that isn’t malarial or rife with fecal matter (I’m not a germaphobe, just a realist. I’ll eat moldy chicken or food off the floor, but I insist on clean-ish water. That’s just me). 
Toilets add rainbows to your business. Toilet paper helps!
   I would like to say that one of the best parts of being inside is the lack of insects, but as I’ve told you multiple times this year, my incredible apartment is home to all kinds of nature’s fascinating creatures. Bees, ants, and flies all call my apartment their home, but I’ve yet to see a spider. Of course now that I’ve said that, I’m probably fucked.
   Did I mention how amazing it is to have a refrigerator when you’re enjoying not being outside? It keeps your food fresh and you don’t have to keep dumping water out of it the way you do with those coolers. Also, it’s full of an array of edible goods. And when you run out of those, you can go to the store, which is located next to NO CAMPSITES EVER. 
Refrigerators are god's creations, too.
   I further appreciate the ability to change my clothes, should the inclination suit me. Sometime I feel too hot or too cold. I will then subtract or add clothing items as I see fit from the plethora of things that I have in my closet and drawers. If my socks get wet, I put on new socks. I’d like to see you try that when you’re hanging out at Joshua Tree.
   Not to seem super deep (because we all know I'm not), but I’ve done some soul searching on this issue and I think I have identified Nature’s most annoying quality. See, she’s all beautiful and magnificent and profoundly moving. All of these inconvenient truths force me into deep contemplation about my life and my choices and my gods and stuff like that. And I freak out a little when I have to think too hard. Being alone with my thoughts is kind of intimidating to me. It’s like a choose your own adventure book and I’m never sure if it’s going to work out or if it’s ever going to be concluded at all or if I’ll be eaten by a Minotaur before I even finish half of a thought. Thinking is scary and it makes me question my general state of being. Nature forces that on me, because it doesn’t distract me with its beauty the way a good book or movie or shopping trip does; it forces me to be present and to contemplate the moment.
   I really don’t like contemplating the moment.
   But there are exceptions.
   I like driving on the Pacific Coast Highway in the morning (before traffic) with the windows down and some great Led Zeppelin or Hall and Oates playing on the 8-track.
   I like reaching the top of a hill during a rough, heinous, sweaty, nauseating hike and then turning around to see how far I’ve come. Sometimes, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the goddamn ocean.
   I like the view from any given point of the rim of the Grand Canyon.
   I like watching the movie Jaws. Sharks are terrible, but Jaws is perfection.
   I like sitting around a campfire, especially in Tom and Jess’s** backyard. I even like the way I stink like fire smoke and their Boston terriers for days afterwards. (I'm sure if I showered more often with my precious plumbing this wouldn't be an issue.)
   I love sledding. The walk back up the hill sucks, but what are you gonna do? (Sledding = opposite of hiking?)
   I like most animals.
   I really like the moon. (From a distance! I don’t want to go there! NEVER!!!)
   I love elements of nature, no doubt. I was an outdoor kid growing up, with a box full of locust shells, constant skinned knees, and a bike that doubled as a horse. But nowadays I’m perfectly fine with my inside status.
   I just love not camping. It just feels right.
Right on! (Anne Taintor)
*From Jeeves and Wooster. One of the best comedy series (or any kind of series) ever made. Hugh Laurie plays a British person and his accent is REALLY BELIEVABLE! (J/K. It's not that believable.)
**Who just got engaged last night!!! I love them!!

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