Monday, August 9, 2010

On un-becoming a hippie

Captain America finds it both amusing and annoying that I moved to California from Oregon, and then decided to become a hippie. I'd actually make a really terrible hippie. I don't smoke pot, I like to shower every day, and as a revenue accountant for a publicly traded company, I'm about as "working for the man" as it's gonna get. But I have taken up some earth-mother type things. I love my reusable grocery bags (although I confess, I'm not quite comfortable with taking them to say, the mall). Apparently I do care what other people think. On the other hand, my mother put a zipper in an already funky Trader Joe's bag, so maybe that'll look chic. Or maybe I'm delusional.

I tried making bread, with mixed and inconsistent results. However, my mother's recent success with Sally Lund bread inspired me to try to make my own again. Once. And I make my own yogurt. It's not quite as good as Trader Joe's, but I'm getting used to it, and it's cheap and easy!

I use a totally hippie shampoo bar from Camamu, that I also love, although I do realize the irony of shipping it from Oregon. I bought some Tom's of Maine toothpaste that Captain America has been dutifully ignoring. I'm trying to take little steps to be a greener person despite my jerk neighbor who feels the need to warm up his truck in San Diego.

But this really is about as far as I can go. I have no interest in growing my own food. I have a lovely yard that I really want nothing to do with. The other weekend, I tried sitting out on my patio, reading. It was alright. But it's breezy outside, and there were distractions and the lighting changes. Maybe I'll try again next week sans the book, but with a margarita, and the whole experience might be better.

Not only do I not want to grow my own food, but I also don't want to can stuff that other people grow. We really don't eat that much canned stuff. I'd like to learn to make my own jelly, my own salsa, and to figure out how to safely can Grandma B's pasta sauce, which contains meat, and that's about it. For my birthday, Sister bought me the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I asked for the book because the last the last thing I want to do is try to lovingly make Captain America some salsa and poison him with botulism. That would be a real step forward.

I'd been feeling guilty about wanting to be "green" but not wanting to do some of the more obvious "green" things, such as growing my own food, becoming a vegetarian, and showering every other day.

But I've decided that this guilt is probably a little silly. Captain America and I do a number of things that are environmentally friendly, and while our efforts may make us marginally ahead of the average American, the point is that we're doing what we can. The point of being environmentally conscious is not to make oneself crazy about all that you're not doing, which is how Id' feel if I had to take up gardening, or skip washing my hair before bed. But what I can do today may be very different from what I can do tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Who knows? At some point I may want to grow my own tomatoes to turn into botulism-free salsa for Captain America. But give up my daily shampoo? Don't hold your breath.

I used to read a bunch of green blogs. Every now and then, the blogger would publish a "day in the life of" and I realized, these people don't work! Seriously, every one that I read, the person worked part time, or part time from home, or not really at all. It would be like:

6:30am: Get up
6:40am: read paper and eat breakfast
7am: walk dog
7:30am: get kids up, walk kids to school, whatever
9am: work
12pm: meet hubby for coffee
2:30pm: pick kids up from school

OK, um, so not only are your kids in school about 10 minutes a day, and it's nice that you walk them there, but you spent 2 1/2 hours having coffee with hubby! Who works in this household?

I'd like to see a "day in the life of, " oh, I don't know, a green CEO, or a divorced mother of 4 who has to work 50 hours a week and is going to law school, or something. Really. I can't be inspired by someone who spends three hours working in the morning and 2 1/2 hours drinking coffee in the afternoon.

I'd rather make money and buy vegetables than grow them. Yup, I'm pretty sure I'm OK with that. Someone's gotta keep the farmers in business.

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