Hazy yellow sky with a dim orange sun

We have spent an entire week indoors

Published 2020-09-16

We have now spent an entire week indoors. This is pretty extreme for our family. We are not super outdoorsy but we are often outdoors. On the first couple of days last week, when we skipped our morning bike rides & slept late, the kids were psyched. They usually complain so much about the morning bike ride. But by Friday — when we were somewhere around AQI 500 — they were begging to go for a bike ride.

I am secretly a homebody, so being homebound is at worst a mild bummer for me. We have a newly-remodeled house with new, well-sealed doors and windows, and powerful recirculating HVAC. Our indoor air is healthy.

But as a fresh air addict, breathing this recycled air is making me cranky. The indoor smell is getting very human: that weird zoo cage mix of laundry and stale food and feet. I do get a few minutes outside every day running errands, or walking the dog. At those times I don’t bother with a P95 filter or anything. First, because I’m certain it doesn’t work (too much air sneaks in around the edges), and second because by my standards “smoky air” is “fresh air.” Well, it isn’t indoor air anyway. In those small doses, the pervasive campfire smell triggers this pavlovian response I received from camping 🏕, where the smell of woodsmoke 🔥 makes me crave a sip of whiskey 🥃.

Yesterday the AQI crept down into the 200s. We might be below that by this afternoon. Other than the smoke, it is wonderfully fresh outside — proper mid-September weather. Other than the smoke.

This morning I experimentally opened one window in my office. To let in a gulp of that mid-September air. It was probably a mistake.

A flask of whiskey next to a campfire