A Different Sort of Evolution

When I was a kid, parents always said “Go outside, the fresh air will do you good.” Despite my nerdy exterior, you may be shocked to know that I spent quite a bit of time outside as a child. For 4 or 5 years, my brother and I had daily swimming lessons (Monday through Friday) every summer. We played kickball and German Spotlight (essentially flashlight tag) well into the evening all spring and summer. I played with my Matchbox cars in the dirt. I climbed trees. We played in the woods (and got checked for ticks regularly – even in the days before Lyme Disease). I rode my bike to friend’s houses miles away. I went horseback riding on my friend’s farm. I played tennis in my neighbor’s tennis court, and even joined him at the country club for golf from time to time.

My family would go to Maine for a week around the 4th of July and spend it with aunts, uncles, and cousins in a small lakefront cottage – water skiing, tubing, swimming, hiking through the woods (more tick inspection), even going to nearby ski resorts to go alpine sliding.

Despite the increased relevance of video games as the 80’s wore on, I still managed to get quite a good deal of “fresh air.”

But when I hit 18, I escaped from Cape Cod as fast as I could. College was my excuse, but deep down I knew that I was always a city boy raised in a small village. I had fun outdoors as a kid, but I knew that as an adult, I wanted something different. I had evolved.

Just like outgrowing Matchbox cars and German Spotlight, I think I outgrew the outdoors. After puberty, I became very hot-blooded. I radiate heat like cast iron skillet that’s been on the burner for over an hour. And if Randy thinks it’s unpleasant to spoon with me at night because of the heat I let off, can you imagine how hot I must feel as the actual radiator?

So, extensive time outdoors, particularly in the warmer months, is decidedly not for me. I feel bad for Randy, I really do. If it was up to him, we’d spend every weekend at the beach, or hiking, or going for long bike rides, or, gasp, kayaking. I think I’ve left those activities with my 13 year old self. I’ve evolved.

For example, on Saturday we spent 10 hours at our friend’s pondfr0nt house in Pembroke. A nice time was had by all..including myself (even though I didn’t go swimming as much as the others). But the best part for me was the company of good friends. That’s the part I enjoy. And that’s the part I could just as easily (or more) enjoyed in an air-conditioned bowling alley, or an air-conditioned house, or an air-conditined movie theater, or an air-conditioned…well, you get the idea. Plop those same great people in a climate-controlled, bug spray and sunblock free zone, with cushioned furniture and THAT’s what I call proper summer weekend.

So by Sunday I was natured out. On Saturday, Randy mentioned numerous times that he’d love to go to the beach on Sunday. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thrilled that the day remained mostly cloudy – putting an end to that option straight away. Hell, I even told Randy I was interested in going to the gym (again, mankind has improved physical fitness so that it now can be done in air-conditioned comfort using equipment specifically designed for certain muscles).

So while Randy would prefer doing things outside, I think I will always lean towards doing things in a manner in which human kind has evolved over time.  Why do stuff outdoors where you risk heat exhaustion, Lyme Disease, Triple E, West Nile Virus, and skin cancer, when modern technology has proven that things can be safer, and more comfortable, with climate-control and plush furniture?


  1. Comment by Randy on June 28, 2010 11:43 am

    Outdoors reminds you that you are alive.. inside you may as well be plugged into a video game simulation of the world. Safe and sound and boring to me.

  2. Comment by Melody on June 28, 2010 2:23 pm

    For the most part I have to side with you Karl. I think air-conditioned anything is just about the way to go. That being said I DO enjoy getting outside to get some fresh air now and again. If it would only be a pleasant temp and no bugs around or the sun burning down on my head I would be happy to be outside. But since the world doesn’t exist outside a video game simulation I will just have to stay inside with the air-condition. 🙂

  3. Comment by snarl on June 28, 2010 3:00 pm

    Yeah, i’m not against being outside as a whole: walk around city? a few hours at the beach (versus all day)? Dining outside (in the shade)?

    I really enjoy our vacations to warm climates (Mexico, Puerto Rico) even with the hot sun. I guess I like luxurious outdoor time: running water, poolside or waterside decks, easy access to air-conditioning within a few steps, occasionally a person to serve me drinks and food.

    Hiking and camping are just not for me.

  4. Comment by Jeffrey on June 28, 2010 7:11 pm

    If you’re going to convince somebody that you’ve evolved, you should not mention bowling alleys.

  5. Comment by Mark on June 29, 2010 10:13 am

    Sad. Really sad, Karl. I love air-conditioned comfort, but would that I could live close by you so I’d have a built-in partner in Randy to do all those outdoor things you mention, and the possibility of coming back to air-conditioning and plush furniture and endless games of cards with you, with a baseball game on the telly and an ice-cold Coke at my elbow (and a never-ending supply of Reese’s peanut butter cups shoved my way…). Now THAT’S true comfort!

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