Saturday, May 22, 2010

Telephone not feat. Beyonce

Leopold and I have been discussing eliminating our landline altogether.

While I can't say for certain whether it is motivated by practicality or sentimentality, I'm the one who would like to keep it.

But, Leopold contends, the only calls we get on it are your parents and sales calls.

And the reality is that most of the time we're not home when my parents call and we end up calling them back on one of our mobiles.

Sitting here, avoiding the work I should be doing in favor of a little blogging, the phone rang.

Picking up the phone in the kitchen I hear nothing.

Then a click.

Then an automated voice saying: "This is Verizon and we'd like to talk to you about changing your mobile calling plan. Please hold the line for the next representative (1)."

Leopold may eventually win this one.

1. Or something like that. You get the idea.

Would I throw a lighted match in that stove if my friend Rocky was in there...

I am a writer.

Or, probably more accurately, I'm a researcher.

Or, even more accurately, I'm a geek with nerd tendencies.

What I'm not...at least not in terms of self-identification...is an environmentalist.

I appreciate what's at stake. I understand the long- and short-term consequences of issues like climate change and rapid deforestation. My new shopping practices are, as I've mentioned here before, focused on buying local and supporting family-farms and family-owned butcher and poultry shops where food hasn't been shipped across the country and isn't shot full of unnecessary preservatives and the rest.

I recycle. I re-use. I look at labels of things like laundry soap to make sure I'm not shooting toxic, non-biodegradable chemicals into the groundwater.

But I don't ask the waitress if the fish they're serving is sustainable. The burgers that I eat are not always grass-fed. I use Windex because vinegar and water just don't clean the windows well enough. I have been known to slip a tomato paste can into the trash and not the recycling because I've just cut my finger on the edge and don't have the patience to finish washing the thing out.

I use plastic bags to pick up after the dog.

But this morning, after having spent the last several weeks deeply involved in reading and gathering data about the oil spill in the Gulf and the potential consequences that event might have, I think I had my first "enviro mental" moment.

If you missed it, President Obama said that offshore drilling could still play a role in securing our energy future as long as we could be sure an accident like what happened doesn't happen again.

Perhaps the President would like to hire a new researcher or two because, well, that's not really going to happen. See, the guys at BP will be more than happy to tell you that it won't happen again. That it was totally unexpected. That is, after all, what they told the guys at the Mineral Management Service when the were getting a waiver on the required environmental impact study.

"No chance of an accident," they said. In my imagination they say it while serving the federal officials cookies and lemonade on a large veranda and they sound like Bugs Bunny in the gangster cartoon.

"Would we drill a big hole in the bottom of the ocean if my friend Rocky was in there?"

They might rabbit. They might.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Standing on the corner.

Among the many things that one has to get used to here in the lap dance of democracy it is sudden, unexpected road closures.

And by this I don't mean, "I'm sorry sir, you can't drive down this block right now..." we're talking, "I'm sorry sir, we're closing down these two streets that surround your neighborhood and we're shutting them down from here to the Capitol and then out to the Stadium."

In other words, hope you didn't plan on going anywhere where you need to take a car.

Usually when I see this, as I did this morning, my first thought was the thought I often have. Why, if the point of these road closures is to get some dignitary or official or even the President from one place to the other safely, do we pretty much announce, "HEY!!! Famous, important person with the fate of the world in his or her hands is heading out for a burger!!! Do not notice them!!!"

I mean, I'm sorry, this is DC. Slap some Virginia plates on that massive black, tinted window Escalade and we're pretty much going to think you're a soccer mom on her way back to the 'burbs.

But other times, again as was the case this morning, the next thing that begins to appear along the closed sections of road are tables filled with carefully filled cups of water. I may be slightly exaggerating, but DC has approximately 2.3 million road races, parades, rallies, fun walks and Brownie marches that require the closure of huge sections of the city.

And by virtue of the fact that I don't live one of those imaginary lives where there is absolutely no where to go on Sunday except from bed to couch to backyard grill I am usually left sitting in my car, cheering runners on because, really, what else am I going to do.