Fear of Fresh Air

You wake up at five o’clock in the morning, have your cup of coffee, and you’re out the door by six.  You get to work at seven or seven thirty, depending on traffic, and you work until noon.  You go outside to smoke, then back inside to eat your lunch – or perhaps you take a quick ride to the nearest place that will feed you.  You work your last little bit, drive home, sit down, and have another cup of coffee.  You watch TV or make dinner, switch and repeat, then you fall asleep in your bed to do it all over again the next day.

I’m no different.  During college, I wake up, drive to class, am in class all day.  I come home to make dinner and do homework or watch TV, go to bed, and do it all over again.  If its a weekend, I spend my mornings playing video games or watching TV, my afternoons shopping or exercising, and my evenings doing much of the same that I did that morning – maybe I’ll play my guitar or clean something.

Our society is so damn depressed because we trap ourselves in these little boxes.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a little box called a house or a car, or a little box called headphones-and-music-while-exercising.  We are so trapped inside our own heads that we are almost afraid to be outside.  Afraid of the dark, afraid of snakes and bees and germs and holes in the ground and even the sun.

And then we wonder where our stress comes.  Oh, I’m feeling horrible and I can’t perform my ritual today because I have a thirty page paper and I sort of have a cold coming on.  Oh, I’m just too tired to take a walk.  I think I’ll watch TV instead.

We have no excuse, and we should be ashamed.

I spent a week bicycling across New York State.  The most time I got to spend inside was when I was eating, showering, or using an inside toilet (the majority of that was porta-potties).  I slept in a tent, and even though the ground was hard, I fell asleep knowing that I was home.

When I got back here, to home, I felt trapped.  Even my room is displaying my displeasure with being cooped up – my windows are open, the shades as far up as they can go.  I spend more time downstairs, which is lighter, and I am simply craving wide open spaces once more.

Go outside and try to experience it.  Don’t run with headphones in your housing track.  Run in a state park with nothing but you (and a cell phone, in case you get lost).  Watch for the bunnies and the squirrels and maybe even a groundhog or a fox.  Look up and see the birds(but don’t trip on a tree root).

We may not be made for outside anymore(lack of body hair can make it cold) but we should stop allowing cultural feelings that began in Victorian England to dictate how comfortable we feel in the place we belong(outside).  Clothes will fix the body hair, and courage will fix the rest.


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