It’s summertime and it seems like everywhere you turn, someone is planning a trip outside. Like outside where nature is. Neighbors are going camping. Friends are going hiking. I drive down the street and see people engaging in this bizarre activity called “gardening” or “caring for their lawns.” And I feel just a tinge of regret. Why? Because my nerdy nature has denied me a relationship with Mother Nature.
As a child, I used to play outdoors just like all the other kids. Except playing outdoors meant playing in the shed in my neighbor’s yard. I simply had to walk through nature to get there. I used to ride my bike, too, but that was just to get from one person’s nice, enclosed house to another. And camping for my family always meant staying at a Howard Johnson’s where we could see trees from the closed window.
I don’t know why I didn’t get into nature or doing things outdoors. I suppose it’s because “Ultraman” was never on TV outside. My books weren’t outside either. And there seemed to be a lot of bugs and dirt, two things I could never much tolerate.
Also – and perhaps this is the most important reason of all – people get eaten by animals when they’re outside. I was convinced for many years that Great White Sharks were only pretending to be water-dwelling creatures and could, at any time, fall from the sky and consume me. (See photographic evidence below of shark at take-off.) Giant shark-shaped clouds wreaked havoc with my psyche for years and FYI, there are more giant shark-shaped clouds than you would imagine.
Bears were also a concern. Yogi Bear looked friendly but what happened when he ran out of PB&Js? In my heart I knew: first he would eat Boo-Boo and then he would eat me, that feral son of a bitch.
Don’t even get me started on the possibility of man-eating robots. Or government officials. “Soylent Green” was no secret to me.
No, I was not the smartest child.
I just feel that with the impending doom facing the planet in the form of global warming and other devastations including but not limited to floods, famine and locust (which I think are a type of kangaroo?), I should try to get to know the old girl before it’s too late. With that in mind, I’m dedicating myself to spending at least a few hours outdoors each week. Of course, that time will be spent rolling around like a human hamster in a giant clear bubble impenetrable by aquatic and/or ursine creatures. As they say, old habits die hard....