Shut the Outdoors


Spring is here and pollen clouds the air. It reminds me – I’m not an outdoor person.

Give me soft slippers, a good book, Netflix, dirty martinis, a comfy sofa, and I’m as happy as Trump spending an overnight at Putin’s.  I do appreciate nature and beautiful vistas, but usually from a window or 3D IMAX theater.  The great outdoors is filled with too much outdoors.

The closest I want to get to grass and foliage is from the security of my deck. If I’m going to be outside it has to be a hard surface. Give me the firmness of concrete or blacktop. The soft, coolness of grass on my feet might seem enticing, but there’s ticks, fleas, ants, worms and bees meandering through the Kentucky blue.

Once, in a bohemian moment, I wandered into a grassy knoll sans my Steve Madden’s. I was sharply brought to my knees when I stepped on a bee. Nothing says “Hello!! I collecting some nectar here,” like a stinger to the foot.

Suddenly, my foot was a basketball with toes. Oh, glorious allergies! They’ve always been part of my life. I had medication, but have you ever tried to buy a round shoe?

That’s what happens in the wild. The creatures sting, bite, suck, nibble, drool, dribble, spit, and that’s just in the backyard. The deeper you wander into the wild the more treacherous it becomes.

Prepare yourself for thorns, brambles, thickets, mud pits, quick sand, saber-toothed tigers, and the Blair witch. There is no into the woods for me. I’m already afraid, and I’ll be damned if I’m getting naked.

Okay, maybe our ancient ancestors lived in caves, or squatted behind rocks. I have no interest in recreating the past. We’ve evolved with online grocery shopping and Amazon Prime.

My mother didn’t squat and drop me in a field while she was working. I wasn’t raised by wolves or gorillas in the mist. I was born inside a sterile hospital. A warm blanket and my own personal spot in the nursery was my first exposure to the world.  Give me luxury of the HEPA filter.

I had a ton of allergies when I was younger. I was allergic to almost everything outside. At one point, my allergist even discovered I was allergic to my own bacteria. Talk about a dilemma. I needed a split personality so I could escape myself.

I wasn’t the boy in the plastic bubble, just the boy with the plastic bag – full of medicine and lotion. “Here comes Vince, disinfect the carpets, drapes and shave the cat.” I didn’t get invited many places. None of my friends’ parents wanted to invest in a defibrillator.

I never wanted to be a Boy Scout or go camping. There’s no need to sleep on the ground. It’s cold, lumpy and smells like dirt. Why do people feel the need to pitch a tent and cook over an open fire? There are plenty of hotels with twenty-four-hour room service for everyone. Give me a hotel room with a patio. That’s camping 101.

Roughing it is forgetting to pack your toothbrush, and having to purchase one in the hotel gift shop. I can’t even fathom collecting leaves in the forest to clean yourself when the call of nature comes. For me, it’s a challenge dealing with one-ply in a public restroom.

I’m not meant for the wilderness, and it’s ironic that I live in a house surrounded by a couple of acres of woods. The sense of seclusion is great, but I’m in alien territory. There was no owner’s manual for what was waiting beyond the edge of my lawn.

When you clear a wooded area to build a home the creatures that were living there have to relocate. A word to the wise – don’t piss off displaced woodland animals. They will reclaim their land with a vengeance.  It’s like I’m living over the burial ground from Poltergeist.

I’ve battled a ground hog who thought my herb garden was the Old Country Buffet and the hot tub cover was the Lido Deck on the Love Boat. There’s been a flock of wild turkeys resting on my deck chairs, a mouse that thinks it’s Spiderman, and squirrels who are slowly driving me insane by rolling nuts across the roof at 6 AM.

Nature is exhausting and there are way too many species of everything. I’m not a botanist and never cared to be one. Guests ask me what type of trees are on the property, and all I can say is, “the kind with bark and green leaves.” I don’t know the difference between an elm, sycamore, poplar, cedar or any other varieties. If I wanted to find a maple specimen, I’d drive to IKEA.

My consistent goal is to keep the outdoors a backdrop to my double-paned windows. I like a view not an immersive experience. There’s no reason for me to find out what it’s like to have a rash or welts from hiking through the forest. That’s why there’s a show called Survivor.

There’s a way to help combat global warming and save the planet – stay inside. Leave nature alone. It’s pretty, but it’s not meant to be tampered with. If I want to walk among some trees and plants, I go to the mall. That’s why there are open air retail outlets and town centers. You can get the fresh smell of the pine from the tree planted next to Old Navy.

Cave dwelling is over. We don’t need to comingle with nature’s elements. Stay inside and enjoy the grandeur of our beautiful planet on your 60” Smart TV.  If anyone still has an urge to slip on a backpack and sleep under the stars, don’t invite me. I’ll be busy lighting my fireplace with a remote and cozying up to a bottle of Allegra.



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