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I have two stupendous porches. Actually, one is a deck. I spend hours and money adorning them with plants, nice, comfortable furniture, and accessories. I water. I set the lights on timers so that they look glorious in the evenings to folks walking past my house. And then I never sit out on either of them.

Here is the thing about porches. The ones that don’t have screens around them are open-air invitations to every fly, mosquito, wasp, or gnat to come right over and bite me, buzz me, or scare me. If I bring a sandwich out, it is even worse; those yellow jackets feel free to zoom right in, and although it was about twenty years ago, I have never forgotten the time one flew into my pop can and ended up inside my mouth. I still have nightmares.

Inside porches are much nicer. Screened and safe. Mine has a ceiling fan, so it stays cool out there pretty much until late July. I sit there more than I do on the deck, but the porch is still underused, despite the fact that it is upstairs, and I can even sit out there in my underwear, and nobody can see me. This sounds like, bliss, right? Like a place where Andy Taylor and Aunt Bee would sit and sing folk songs to Opie? Or play gin with Barney? That’s it, really. In order to enjoy a porch like that, you need at least one other person to sit out there with you. You need light conversation and a deck of cards. But my husband does not like to sit on porches and do little more than talk. He has said just about everything he wants to say to me in the forty six years we have been married. Additionally, he doesn’t play a soothing, quiet guitar to sing along with—he plays the accordion, which is as loud as bagpipes, and just about as irritating to the neighbors. So that’s out.

I love the porches though. I look through my kitchen window at the deck, and the view is gratifying. Every night, when I shut the doors to the upstairs screened porch, I feel proud of my decorating skills. If Martha Stewart came over, I would make her a glass of iced tea and take her up there with confidence.

I would wear clothes, however.

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