How To: Stay In
Few plan on waking up in a Fresno bus station one bleary, nauseous morning to a chorus of hungry wolves. Outside of the home, you are vulnerable to attack and harm by countless foes. Lightning seldom strikes through windows and werewolves cannot operate door handles. Escaped convicts, bats, leeches, zombies and STDs are all outside. Stay in the house and the night's worst possible outcome will likely involve eating too much ice cream or falling asleep early. Diets and deadlines aside, both are pleasant fates. Venture into the night and you could be hit by a bus or mauled by giraffes.
I am a creature of the night. I love its smell and sounds, its buzz and bustle. When I leave my house, plans to return are always tentative. Once I cross my threshold into the evening, I resign myself to an unrestricted period of cavorting, mischief, vice, and debauchery. My evenings are fun, but can be costly. Not only does staying in fatten pocketbooks — it often forces one to make productive use of time. I wrote this article at my desk, free from the distractions of partying or conversation. The key to resigning oneself to an evening of mundane productivity is to find distraction from the fun you will likely miss. Before I chain myself to my desk, I consider the following household indulgences.
Wear a bathrobe.
Treat yourself to the ultimate in mobile comfort. Whether made from terrycloth or simple cotton, the gentle caress of a flowing robe could make windstorms feel luxurious. Once donned, the cocoon of soft warmth that surrounds you is difficult to exchange for scratchy shirts
and muggle clothes.
Wanderings far from home are risky endeavors in bathrobes as they present a major risk to personal status and reputation. The only man I've seen wearing a bathrobe in public smelled of urine and asphalt. He told me about a secret Chinese military base on the dark side of the moon and asked me for fifty cents, giggling at the sight of his own fingers.
Read a book.
Be one of the thoughtful few who spend hours staring blankly at ink and paper. It's cool. No, really. There is no escape like that between the pages of a good novel, no honey for the mind like well-crafted prose.
Books make you smarter; they build vocabulary essential to conveying simple and complex ideas, which can woo members of the opposite sex. Shame on the man who does not read, for he lives but one life over the course of his existence.
A book lets a reader live, consider, evaluate and reflect on the life of a different person without facing the consequences of betraying our own character. Literature allows us the privilege of escaping to other worlds without leaving the safety of a warm armchair or living room couch.
Fathom the implausible and immortalize it on paper. To lay rest to the tangible universe and indulge in fantasy is a luxury afforded us by the blank page. The unstretched mind becomes rigid over time. A stagnant imagination atrophies.
Students are constantly immersed in fact. We can cite respected authors and academicians, philosophers, thinkers and revolutionaries, but original thought is what sets us apart from one another, not our ability to regurgitate memorized facts and canned truths.
Writing allows those who practice it creative freedom unhindered by possibility or the laws of physics. I can ride on the back of an elephant surrounded by thousands of nineteen year-old Jessica Albas as they play traditional mariachi music and make tasty tropical drinks. I can take a trip to Spain from the comfort of an armchair. Who needs a night of debauchery when I can write one with even more supermodels?
Cook for yourself.
There is little more satisfying than a good meal. The task of cooking one will keep you in the house. When chained to a stove, there is no opportunity for lengthy distraction — food smokes and burns when left unattended.
Photo by Stephanie Pellicano
A cook’s toil is rewarding. There is a restaurant in town that specializes in my favorite foods, cooks whatever suits my fancy. It's cheap, within walking distance from my bedroom and makes me feel like I have done something useful with my time. It's called my kitchen and its always open for business.
The week affords me little time to stretch my culinary imagination. Quick, simple pastas and toothsome flat iron steaks compose the bulk of my diet. If I sacrifice a night of partying, I can dine on handmade corn ravioli set in a pool of stinging nettle puree and garnished with fresh Parmesan, or maybe some preserved lemon zest if I'm feeling ambitious. Once you have prepared dinner, there is little reason to leave the kitchen. It smells like heaven and tasty things abound. Savor the meal, for it is truly yours. Invite a stranger over and you will be friends by the dinner's end. Why not make dessert while you're at it?
The zombie apocalypse rocks ASU every Thursday and weekend night. They stagger in tank tops and miniskirts, thirsty for drinks and excess. Join the throngs of living dead and you will surely have fun —wild, mindless fun. Partying is easy; it requires no application of thought or skill. It is a cathartic release for the animal mind.
But staying in appeases that which separates us from zombies and animals. A giraffe cannot read Shakespeare or appreciate a well-cooked meal. Humans are endowed with the remarkable ability to appreciate life's subtle pleasures: the smell of musty paper, the beauty of music, the joy of a bathrobe’s soft fabric. Staying in not only saves money — it cultivates and builds character. With mariachis playing on my balcony and a good meal before me, it's easy to love being human.
Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @scotchandfoie