I have never cared much for nature and, to be quite honest, I don’t think nature has ever much cared for me.
As such, I have spent the better part of my life avoiding nature whenever I can.
Summer is too hot. Winter is too cold. Spring is too unpredictable. There’s about a three-week span in the fall during which the weather is actually perfect. Even that window seems to be shrinking, however, as summer seems to keep creeping into September and winter seems to be creeping into October.
(Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some sort of screed about global warming).
I have always preferred to keep things climate controlled — 72 degrees is just about right for me. I try to keep the interior of my house at that exact setting all year round. This means I am constantly running either the air conditioner or the heater — and, living in Ohio, sometimes both during the same day.
Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s not just the temperatures I hate. There’s so much more to nature to make me miserable.
There’s always grass that needs mowing, weeds that need pulling, flowers that need planting, leaves that need raking and snow that needs shoveling. There’s seemingly no end to the amount of work that needs to be accomplished outdoors. As someone who is inherently lazy, I don’t see beautiful landscapes when I look out the window (which just so happens to be my favorite view of nature), I see lots of work that my wife is going to make me do.
And yes, the only reason it gets down is because my wife makes me … were it up to me, I’d buy some goats to graze in the backyard if it meant I could avoid mowing the lawn.
As bad as those things are, though, it’s not the temperatures or the intensive labor that have stoked the fires of my hatred for nature.
It’s the fact that nature hurts.
Inside, things are nice and safe. Sure, I may stub my toe on one of my kids’ toys or bang my knee on the bedpost from time to time, but generally speaking, my couch cushions aren’t out to get me.
Nature, on the other hand, offers seemingly endless arrays of ways to make me just as uncomfortable as possible. Wild animals want to eat me. The sun wants to burn me. The grass wants to scratch me. The water wants to down me. The bees want to sting me.
No, seriously. The bees want to sting me. In the eye.
I’m not making this up. Two weeks ago I was picking up my kids at my in-laws’ house after I was done working. As is always the case, I made a concerted effort to spend as little time outside as possible, so I ran from the car into their house. I got my children ready, then I began hustling the children to the car … no sense spending any more time outside than necessary.
In the 4.2 seconds it took me to walk from my in-laws’ front door to my car, a bee (or some other sort of insect with a large, painful stinger) stung me right in the eye. I don’t know exactly how to describe the pain of being stung in the eye, but it probably hurts just as bad — or possibly worse — than you might imagine.
My eye continued to hurt for pretty much the rest of the day, but by the next morning, the pain had mostly subsided, to be replaced with an annoying itch. Still, though, at least it didn’t hurt any more, which I figured was an improvement. Until that next day, that is, when my eye began both hurting and itching.
Still, though, I figured it would only be a matter of time before the pain and itching subsided, so I began the task of continuing to live my indoor, climate-controlled lifestyle.
Until I woke up the next morning and found my eye swollen entirely shut. Not only was my eye swollen, though, but the entire left side of my face. I looked like Jake LaMotta at the end of a long night. Figuring this was a little more than Tylenol could handle, I sought professional medical help. I went to see the doctor, who put me on steroids for six days.
The good news is the swelling has gone down and my eye has returned to normal. The bad news is I’ve got six days of steroids in my system, which makes me ineligible for the upcoming Olympics.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, though … those are mostly held outside.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong