Satire | Top 10 ways to have fun outdoors


Wu Caiyi | Senior Staff Photographer

Geese and pigeons can be seen around campus and in Schenley park.

By Alex Dolinger, Staff Columnist

Now that we are officially back on campus, we are all looking for ways to have fun without getting coronavirus in the process. Due to the nature of the virus’ spread and the always perfect and lovely Pittsburgh weather, one of the best ways to vibe with your pod is to vibe outside. 

It’s been a while since a lot of us have played outside, so it’s easy to be unsure what to do. Luckily, I’ve been walking around Oakland and seeing what our fellow students are doing and trying a couple outdoor activities myself. Here are some of my favorite outdoor activities, in no particular order.


  1. Four square

This is an excellent throwback to recess days that I got to partake in recently, and just so you know, I am amazing at it. Four square only requires some sidewalk chalk, a rubber ball, a patch of concrete and a dream. I had a wonderful time playing on Flagstaff Hill, where I often got distracted by many dogs and many people being suspicious. Enjoy chasing your ball for most of the game and watching people who think they’re cooler than you stare at you with disdain. They wish they were as cool as you.


  1. Duck, duck, goose

This is another elementary school staple. I was sitting in Schenley Park the other day and I saw the most amazing group of very goth people playing duck, duck, goose, proving what we already know — duck, duck, goose is most definitely punk rock. This is a perfect way to get some thrilling exercise, and all you need is a patch of grass. I must admit, age and quarantine have made it difficult to stand up and sit down as quickly as duck, duck, goose requires, but I think months of inactivity has leveled the playing field for all of us.


  1. Partnered skateboarding

I was waiting like a vulture for some bubble tea the other day when I saw the most amazing thing. What I thought was an ordinary skateboarder turned out to be two people on one skateboard, cruising along as if they weren’t reshaping my worldview and lowering my self-esteem. I don’t know if I can partake in this activity, given that I can’t even skateboard by myself. Next time you and your roommate need to get somewhere quickly, wrap your arms around each other and say, “see you later, boi.”


  1. Bird watching

Bird watching is an activity that people bullied me for enjoying in high school. But, now that life is boring and filled with dread, sometimes all you can do is marvel at nature. For example, on my way to get my first pumpkin spice latte of the season, I saw a pigeon fly into someone’s open apartment window. While it’s not out of the realm of possibility that that pigeon is a very responsible renter, I have a feeling that someone had a very up-close and personal bird watching experience. If you live in that apartment, please contact me.


  1. See how deep South Oakland is

A great activity that you can do with your pod or by your lonesome is a good power walk, or even a jog. If you caught up with me here, you’ll know that I am training for an unspecified 5k. Once I got back to campus, I took to the streets looking for a new trail so I could keep up with my incredibly vigorous training. South Oakland is full of garbage and lots of one-way streets, so I wanted to explore its depths. Turns out, South Oakland is incredibly deep and can lead you to the Monongahela or just more Schenley Park. It is still mostly full of garbage. 


  1. Go on a seven-hour first picnic date

“But Alex,” you say, “How do I cultivate a long-term relationship during a pandemic?” you say. I have an answer. It’s time to make and can your own jam, put it in a basket, and sit down for a picnic 6 feet away from some girl you met on Tinder for several hours. It’s a great way to stay safe, use groceries and stare longingly into each other’s eyes. The lesbians have been doing this for centuries and I think it’s time we all caught up.


  1. Support a local business

All jokes aside, there are several Oakland staples that need our help to stay open during this super horrible time for businesses. Luckily, Oakland is full of super fun outdoor seating where you can go and share a quality meal/coffee with your pod. I got a matcha latte from Redhawk Coffee, and was able to sit outside under a glamorous little umbrella while a man talked very loudly on the phone a table away from me. The joys of outdoor dining are never-ending.


  1. Live music

Even though concerts won’t be happening for a while, there’s still plenty of ways to hear live music. One of my favorite parts of Oakland throughout the years is all the different people performing outside. I love the guy who plays guitar in the sky bridge, the guy who plays piano by Dunkin and especially the guy singing absolute bops in Schenley Park. Walk around, bring some cash to donate and enjoy the first taste of live entertainment most of us have had in months.


  1. Razor scooter

I have not seen anyone do this and I have not done it either. But all I’ve been able to think about since the great outdoors became so appealing is the desire for a good old-fashioned ride on a Razor scooter. It is the ultimate childhood activity despite the danger to your ankles. I used to be able to do tricks in my driveway, and now all I do is wave at people on Zoom. I would like to feel the wind in my hair as I scoot down the South Oakland sidewalks, right before I feel garbage in my hair because the sidewalks are so uneven and that would never work.


  1. Talk crap

This is my favorite activity regardless of the state of the world. It can be done indoors or outdoors, remotely or in-person. Everyone is taking part. I was walking to go wait like a vulture for more beverages, when I passed a fellow student talking on the phone. She was very upset, claiming that sorority girls are bland and have no personalities. Even though I am in a sorority, I was delighted to hear this. I love that even a pandemic will not take away things to gossip about. Nothing ever could. We are truly all in this together. 


Alex Dolinger is a senior theatre arts major with a minor in nonfiction writing. They primarily write satire. You can reach Alex at [email protected]