The other day a clerk at the grocery store praised me for being “green” and bringing in my own bags. I was a little startled, and just hoped he didn’t think I was also one of those types of people who drives around in a hybrid car with ECOLOVR license plates on it. The fact is, the “green” things I do, I do because I’m cheap, lazy and/or stubborn. I’m really more of an eccentric than an environmentalist.
I eschew thin little plastic bags and prefer to stick stuff in my backpack or some sturdy plastic bags I have because it means I can carry more stuff easily in a single trip back to the house, and I don’t have a pile of annoying baggies to toss in the recycling.
I walk or bike whenever it’s not totally annoying to do so, because I want exercise, and like me, Kelly prefers travel in anything but a car. Plus, I’ve hated spending money for gasoline since long before it reached $4 a gallon. Unlike environmentalists, I don’t look down on those who drive; and in fact, when it comes to school field trips and scout camping trips, I am grateful to those generous souls with mini-vans, SUVs, and extended cab trucks. They’re the people I mooch rides from when my little fuel-efficient car shows its limits.
And I have a vegetable garden not because I like gardening, but because I take pleasure in being able to have the freshest food available right outside my door without having to make a transaction. I also like farmer’s markets because of my freshest possible food fetish, as well as the novelty opportunities, like finding heirloom vegetables not sold in stores. The fact that the produce is also often organic doesn’t matter to me. In fact Peter still teases me about the star-shaped zucchini I bought with a cutworm still crawling on it (“that’s how you know it’s organic” said the hippie gentleman farmer as he flicked the worm away.) My own garden is pesticide free not for any holistic reason, but merely for the fact that I’d rather pull out and toss a bug-infested plant than have to go and buy some stinky chemicals.
Back in the day, one of my acquaintances could drive by and see me pulling a wagon laden with groceries and a passed-out-from-boredom toddler, and wave to me. From within the air-conditioned splendor of her mini-van, she was perfectly happy she wasn’t out in the heat with me, having to listen to a rant about the evils of gasoline or the pleasures of sidewalk strolls. These days, at least one perfectly innocent mini-van driver has professed a pang of guilt while witnessing me on the sidewalk, as if her need to drive her child to school is killing polar bears or some such nonsense.
Just because I do “green” things doesn’t mean other people are remiss in not doing them, too. But it’s hard to tell people you’re just eccentric and cranky when they’re busy praising you for being so saintly and fashionable.