If you’ll forgive the generalization, there are indoorsy people and outdoorsy people. People like me, who read books and do crossword puzzles, and knit. And then there are people who ski, and hike, and who seem to genuinely enjoy running.
As a committed indoorsy person, I’ve long felt conflicted about the outdoors. I enjoy a simple walk in the woods. I love birdwatching. And I even like roughing it, to a certain extent.
But to enjoy these pursuits, I find I often have to navigate through a morass of information geared toward outdoorsy people, and advice given by outdoorsy people. “This hike?” I ask, pointing at a map. “How hard is it?”
And outdoorsy people, damn you … you lie. “Oh!” you say. “No problem. A few hills. You’ll be fine.” And you are totally, totally lying.
You are lying because you’re forgetting that you’ve spent a lifetime as an outdoorsy person. You have a comfort with the outdoors that us indoorsy types do not. Just because it is no problem for you, does not make it no problem for us.
You know what’s not problem for me? Speaking English. It’s easy! I do it all the time, and I don’t think twice about it! You should have no problem speaking English, non-native-speaker, it’s a cinch.
That’s you, outdoorsy people. Forgetting that what is easy for you is not easy for others.
And you know how else you lie? You secretly lie because you also want us to really, really like the outdoors as much as you do. Just get us out there, you think, and we’ll be won over by campfires and the simple beauty of nature. So rather than accurately report the difficulties, you minimize them just a tad. Just a wee bit. You just can’t help yourselves, cause you really, really think we’d like it if we only tried it.
Let me tell you, outdoorsy people, these lies are not helping your cause. When I have feet covered in blisters cause you assured me this hike was totally doable, I’m not thinking, “What a wonderful idea this was, I can’t wait to challenge myself like this again.” I’m thinking, “Playing cribbage while drinking a cocktail is a much better way to spend my remaining hours on earth.”
But. Butbutbutbutbut. But. Despite being indoorsy, despite being burned in the past … I’d still secretly like to complete … some sort of physical challenge. I know, I know. I know. Listen, I’m not talking about hiking the Appalachian Trail or anything. I’m not nuts. I’d like to do something that, for me, would be a stretch.