On Going Indoors

Essay by sflam August 2005

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Picture, if you will, a world in which no one went outside. When I refer to outside or outdoors, the inference is not the mere act of stepping out the door, but moving, doing, and existing outside. A meaning in which outdoors becomes a part of life; it is where we are, not just something we must survive to get to the nearest enclosure--shop, boutique, café, or office. Outdoors, in the sense of people walking, lingering, living, and talking, away from the nice neat space of enclosed walls and a ceiling. Now in our world this meaning is alien. All life, as much as conveniently possible, thrives indoors. With the exception of dashing into a means of transport or skirting into a building, the open air is empty of human activity. Of course, there will always exist the small, eccentric types that actually enjoy the trees, grass, birds, dirt, water, and all that nostalgic nature stuff.

Such are the exceptions to the rule, the rustics on the outskirts of civilization. It is seen as more civilized to remain indoors whenever possible. What a sham, we think. But how near to the truth is it?

Oftentimes, I have found myself frantic for the nearest parking space to that glistening glass doorway. Or, I nearly sprint to my car, relaxing only when the door shuts and I am locked away, safe from unruly nature. It is not a conscious effort, but a present one nonetheless. As of yet, Americans refused to admit our attitudes in this area. Currently, most of us are still enjoying those nostalgic illusions that at heart we love the great outdoors. Unfortunately, it gets in the way of all the things we need to do. The lies we whispered to comfort some traditional viewpoint locked away in our...