As far as Mondays go, mine are usually not so bad. I mean, they’re the standard the weekend is over meets not enough sleep meets overwhelming work shitstorm meets everything is terrible always, but they typically go by pretty fast for me.
Wednesdays and Thursdays, though, those are the days that suck. So while my mood right now is best described as “BEER IN HAND,” I can at least think back to this past Monday, when a group of us went to the beach.
It’s another beautiful week in Seattle, and when you have a beautiful week plus friends who like to take advantage of beautiful weeks, you get suggestions like bringing some drinks and some grillable food to the park, which happens to be on the beach, which happens to look over seals and parasailers frolicking in Puget Sound and, beyond that, the mountains. Plus it was sunset, so yeah, I might come home all “BEER IN HAND” sometimes, but I also get to do things like this on days like Monday:
Josh and Chris came up with the idea. They come up with a lot of ideas involving the outdoors, and they’re all good ones, but I know that I fail to muster the desired enthusiasm for many of them and this makes me feel like a pill. I realized a few years ago that while I enjoy the outdoors and value the time I spend in it, mostly, I’m an indoors person. This is hard to deal with in a place as perfect for the outdoors as the Pacific Northwest, so for a few days after someone suggests something outdoorsy, I worry that I’ve come off as a lazy asshole when I reply with some variation of “sounds great, but not for me.” What I really mean to say is “I’m sorry I’m like this but I can’t help it, I hope you all have a wonderful time.”
Instead of being an outspoken lover of the outdoors, I’m more of a willing participant. Like I said, I like the outdoors very much, but there are a few factors keeping me from being a real fan.
1. I’m afraid of heights. I’ve talked about this before, but basically, it’s a phobia, I know it’s irrational but it’s also intense, and my phobia requires that my reaction to heights isn’t limited to “Boy, it would certainly be unpleasant if I fell!” My reaction to heights is the result of stress chemicals flooding my brain and every part of my body responding as though it were facing painful and imminent doom. My chest gets tight. My breathing changes. My extremities tingle, my eyesight blurs around the edges, and I get this weird itchiness in my feet like they’re not fully attached to the ground. Again, I know it’s irrational but I can’t help it, and unfortunately, being phobic of heights prevents me from enjoying things like skiing, mountain biking, and most hikes. At least the ones around here.
2. I’m allergic to bees. I’ve heard there aren’t many in Seattle, but fuck you guys because I couldn’t get into my car after work yesterday because there was a wasp hanging out on the door handle. I know I went through several years of allergy shots and probably don’t need an Epipen anymore, but how about you spend some time in the hospital with doctors talking about amputating your fingers and then we can talk.
3. SPF 30, surely you jest. My bathroom cabinet holds a bottle of SPF 80, and even that has to be reapplied regularly if I don’t want to look like a blister and feel like a hemorrhoid. Oh come on, people say, your skin will get used to the sun eventually! Yeah, uh, I’m 30 years old and I have literally never had a tan. Who has time to develop that kind of anti-genetic trait for entirely cosmetic purposes? Also, both of my parents have had skin cancer cut out of their faces, so I think it’s best if I don’t tempt fate in this area.
4. My skin color and a little bit of fatness contribute to me not being a big swimmer. I mean, I can swim. I used to do it a lot. But then I realized how long it takes to apply sunscreen, and how often it has to be reapplied, and how weird I feel wearing the equivalent of underwear in public (to be fair, I felt this way even when I was skinny). I’m not a prude or anything, but there’s something about growing up in a borderline never-nude Catholic family that makes public near-nakedness feel all kinds of wrong.
5. I don’t really like camping. I’m sure this comes from my first two camping experiences being awful (the first time, the guy I was dating forgot tent poles and then broke his ankle, and the second time, I had to be on a float trip with people who couldn’t drink like adults and the guy I was dating didn’t believe in air mattresses and some hoosiers got into a screaming fight the moment I dropped off to sleep), but it also comes from me liking home. I like having a real bathroom close by. I like being able to open a refrigerator. I like the Internet, and my bed, and not digging my stuff out of a bag in a tent that smells like mildew. Also Graham farted me out of a tent once. I’ve had some pleasant experiences camping but never any stellar ones, and yes, that includes the time I took a lot of drugs and got to sit for a couple of hours with a puppy on my lap.
6. The outdoors is expensive. If you’re hiking, you need shoes. If you’re using some kind of machinery or contraption to get yourself up or down a mountain, you need that machinery or contraption plus its accessories. You have to buy stuff if you want to kill things, you have to buy space if you want to sleep there, and because we live in cities, you have to buy gas to get anywhere.
I’m an indoor person. I like indoor voices (reasonable, polite) and indoor cats (safer, will not have loud sex on your car). I can go outside sometimes, but if you’re looking for me, check inside first.