Sometimes, Matt Yglesias makes me proud to be a nerd. That was the case last week when he wrote, The Case Against Eating Lunch Outside. (Note: I believe his original title was, “Eating Lunch Outside Sucks; Stay Inside.”) He’s completely right, of course. I am definitely an inside person.
There are rare occasions when eating outside is not bad. It has to be a warm day; you have to be under a tree or otherwise shielded from direct sunlight (clouds work); there can’t be any wind; and you need a table and chair. This confluence of necessities happens less often than I get married. And the case that Yglesias is talking about—a group lunch—makes it rarer still because you add greatly to the table and chair arrangements.
I would take the whole thing further than Yglesias, although that is probably only because he is better adjusted than I am. If I made more money so that I could have all of my groceries delivered, I’m not sure I would ever leave the house. I like inside a lot, but I like my inside even more. Still, he certainly does show signs of some of my neuroses. For example, he spends a whole paragraph explaining that grass really is just dirt. Hey: I agree! In fact, plain dirt is better because there are no hidden surprises like water or scorpions. It strikes me as an unnatural obsession. (Note: it is also true that he just doesn’t like lawns.)
What’s more, this article is 8 paragraphs long. This is from a writer who normally provides only two when discussing SNAP benefit cuts. However, this all goes along with Yglesias’ interest in urban planning. And he’s right that humans have spent the last few thousand years trying to find ways to spend more time indoors. It’s all about controlling one’s environment and the best way to do that is to be inside.
One of my favorite places on earth is the Timber Cove Inn. I don’t get to go there much because the rooms start at about $200 per night. But it is beautiful. And you can enjoy all of that beauty from your room with the fireplace and jacuzzi without ever going outside. And that really is key, because the weather is always terrible there. It is right on the edge of a cliff on the Pacific Ocean. In fact, if you will forgive me, I wrote this poem when I was there:
in your safari shoes
(the ones that say
sitting on the
seemed not quite so
The Pacific Ocean really is badly named. In fact, it’s name is an offense to naming. It reminds me of this:
The truth is that ever since I was a child, lying on my back looking up into the blue sky brings on a panic attack. Strangely, I have no such problem at night. Regardless, the great outdoors is no friend of mine. So even if it is the case that Matt Yglesias likes inside because he’s studied urban planning and he thinks indoor spaces are the best places to be, we are still allies. Because outside sucks. Except when viewed from behind glass while sitting in a nice climate controlled room—preferably with a jacuzzi.