I think I’ve mentioned before that a blogger once wrote a short bio of me that basically described me as a cross between Norma Desmond and Baby Jane–I sounded like some sort of insane recluse, peering fearfully out from between the shutters. Apparently she had come to that conclusion from reading several interviews with me in which I talked about how much I hated leaving home.
Reports of my entombing are exaggerated.
I do leave the house once in a while. Quite frequently, in fact.
But like most exaggerations, there is a kernel of truth to that crazy shut-in image of me. Sometimes I feel like I have this bungee cord between me and my home: it can stretch but sooner or later it starts tugging me back. Hard.
I know not everyone feels the same way. Some people like to keep moving, spend their days out in the world, seeking new experiences and making new friends.
Those people are wrong.
Here are the reasons why I’ve discovered it’s best for me to leave my house as seldom as possible.
1. WEATHER. There’s weather outside, people. Even here in beautiful sunny Los Angeles, there’s weather. Inside a house, you can control your climate. You go out in the world and you lose all control over that stuff. Do you know what it’s like to be in a t-shirt when the temperature dips to an unreasonable 63 degrees? It’s cold, man. It’s cold. Well, mildly cool, at any rate.
2. OTHER PEOPLE. Even more unpredictable than the weather. Sure there are those salt of the earth types who are a pleasure to meet. But then there are all the others. The Kardashians are out there in the world beyond my house. So is Snooki. And that guy who gave me the finger yesterday because he thought I had honked at him even though I hadn’t. None of these horrible people is in my house. I think. I should probably go check out that noise upstairs just to make sure.
3. LINES. Everywhere you go, you have to stand in line. Have you seen my local Starbucks? The queue stretches out the door. Do you know how long it takes me to make a cup of coffee in my own home? Okay, it sort of depends on whether or not I cleaned out the coffee maker beforehand–probably not–and how many times I spill the grounds and the water–and whether I bother to clean that all up right away or not–but the point is, I go right to the front of the line here.
4. 405 CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC. For those of you who don’t live on the west side of LA, let me explain to you this little construction project they’ve been doing on our only major north/south freeway. Basically what happened was this: Satan called his minions to him and said, “I want to drive men crazy with fury and frustration, divide brother against brother, wreak havoc, and make grown women tear their hair out in anguish,” and someone said, “Three years of construction along the 405 in west LA should do it.” Far better to be a prisoner in my own home than venture east after 2 pm on a week day. Far better. Far better.
5. GETTING DRESSED. I’m home right now, working on my computer, and I’m wearing a soft sweatshirt I bought at a thrift store that my kids say looks like “a towel,” a pair of knee-length sweat shorts that were handed down to me years ago by a then-14-year-old, glasses (haven’t put my lenses in yet) and fuzzy blue socks. If I left the house like this, people would cluck their tongues and the nice ones would hand me money, which wouldn’t be all bad, but still . . . No, leaving the house requires real clothing, and I hate real clothes. They have buttons and zippers and you’re supposed to wash them after you wear them.
6. THE PETS. You’d think the neediness of my two dogs and my cat would mean I’d be desperate to leave the house, but the truth is that it’s better to keep up with their eating, entertainment and toileting needs as they come up, and NOT leave them alone for a while, because the homecoming is too much to deal with when I’m already exhausted from having ventured out into the world. One step into the house and I’ve got two dogs hurling themselves at me and a cat meowing his lungs out. ”PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” they all scream, when all I really want to do is urinate and check my email. (Not at the same time. I swear.) If I don’t leave, they don’t get so nuts. Well, they do, but it’s spread out more.
7. FAMILY. If members of my family are here in the house, I don’t want to leave it. I like my family. They get my jokes. They love me. They’re not scary, mean, or unpredictable. Sure, they can occasionally be annoying, but that’s why bathroom door locks were invented. Speaking of which:
8. BATHROOMS. Home bathrooms are better than bathrooms out in the world. You know it and I know it.
9. MY KITCHEN. I love my kitchen. It has my favorite foods in it. It has roughly a dozen different kinds of coffee making products in it (see above). It has a big oven that I use on an almost daily basis for baking cookies, brownies, and cakes. It’s always open and it’s only in my home.
10. HAPPINESS. Happiness is snuggling up on your bed with members of your family and several warm pets and watching something terrible like SMASH or something wonderful like GAME OF THRONES and knowing that whatever horrors are going on in the world outside your door, for the moment you’re safe and sated and comfortable and entertained and cozy and surrounded by people you love. Why wouldn’t I prefer that to pretty much everything else?