Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Love In The Face of Eco-Nuttiness

I remember when I first saw Super-Size Me feeling a pang of empathy for Morgan Spurlock's vegan chef girlfriend. It's not that I didn't feel kind of bad for Morgan as well, but hey, he chose the challenge, right? No one forced him to eat McDonald's for a month on end. (Besides which, I have to admit, that to me, McDonald's tastes like nostalgia on a bun, so I didn't necessarily think it was the world's most horrifying challenge.)

But I think in some respects it's harder to be the significant other/friend/parent etc of someone taking on some crazy challenge, than it is to actually take on a challenge yourself. For one, if you take on a challenge, you are making the choice to do so. If you're related to someone taking on a challenge, you don't get a choice. For another, most challenges seem more intimidating from the outside. It's not easy to see a loved one struggle through something.

I am keenly aware that it is not the easiest thing in the world to be my friend these days. I try as much as I can to not let my challenges affect other people, but you know, that's kinda impossible. I will go to the mall with friends, but I'm not going to buy anything at the mall which can make it less fun for my friends. Relying on public transit means doing a lot of walking in the city, which is hard on my mom's nerves. And when I'm sick, or it's late at night, it means hitting up Honda or Mr. Honda for a ride.

They say that it is in hard times that you can tell what kind of friends you have. I already knew that I had the most amazing friends in the world. When my father passed away a few years ago, I had a number friends drop everything to come be with me. Several of them were on the other coast. It didn't matter. They didn't know my father that well, but they knew me and loved me.

After that, I felt a little bit like I had used up my cache of love and friendship. That I had relied too heavily on my friends for support, and that I should leave them alone a little and not ask for help.

I now realize that there's no such thing as "using up" love. Living a lower impact life is not always easy, but it is infinitely easier because I have all of my friends and family rooting for me and supporting me daily. Miss V calls me to go to the farmer's market instead of the mall. The King emails me with public transit advice. My mom talks me through recipes I'm trying out. And Honda deals with her best friend's insanity with good humor and nothing less than total support, even when she has to hear me whine about how I'm hot, and she wishes that I would just quit whining and turn on my a/c. (She even bought me a Klean Kanteen because she is awesome and also because she is a stickler for good hydration.)

So, on Earth Day, I want to honor, not the Earth, because that would be easy and I'm arduous. Instead I want to honor Honda. And my mom. And Miss V, The King, Womryl, Annie, ScienceMama, Awesomest Co-worker, my sister and everyone else who has been supporting me through my nuttiness. I know, you wish I would just clean that spill with paper towels. But you go along with my eco-insanity with only a little eye-rolling at times. That's love.


Unknown said...

word! I can't imagine being my friends and having to put up with all my craziness. But I also can't imagine being able to do all this stuff without them

Anonymous said...

Aw, thanks, hon. We do love you. And you're amazing. You're the one who keeps me driving my glass bottles to the recycling center where the guy always makes fun of how much beer I drink. And you can eat nothing but lentils in May if you want to. I promise I'll be good.


Going Crunchy said...

Great post! I meanwhile am driving the Huz to tears as I'm making him line dry clothes. Tee-hee.

ScienceMama said...

Dude, I was totally going to send you a Kleen Canteen as an early birthday gift. Argh. Now I'm going to have to get you the recycled underwear instead.

hmd said...

I'm currently reading Spurlock's "Don't eat this book" in which he talks about making the movie. I can't imagine doing that to my body (on purpose no less!) but I suppose most people can't imagine not owning a car. My family thinks I'm nuts but they are totally supportive.

My hubby has joined me in some parts of my experiment, but it's still very much my own. Thankfully, he knew I was a nut before he married me. I came running in the house on Saturday at full speed yelling, "come look, come look, come look." I'm sure his thoughts consisted of, "good lord, what now." By the time he got to the kitchen, he found me with veggies strewn all over the counter and with two tiny carrots in my hot little hands like a lottery ticket. The first carrots of the season. Cha Ching! He shook his head and went back to his reading.

Anonymous said...

Well, after months of neglecting your blog, I was rewarded with a shout out. I guess you're right. You can't get rid of us. Love is sticky like lint on black corduroy.


ruchi said...

Ryl, let's be fair. You only got HALF a shout out.

hgg said...

Yay to good friends!

But I must say that in my world avoiding paper towels when cleaning up spill isn't considered very nutty. My parents never used anything but rags to celan up spill; my Mom would even convert old towels into rags and I got a whole bunch of them.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. That's what this shit comes down to in the end: community. Learning to live together.

I read about the worry that other people think these eco-actions are "weird" on these eco-blogs a lot. I think it's funny to care about what people I don't know think of me. I care a lot about what the people I do know think of me: hopefully they think I'm kind, ethical, intelligent, etc. And, as you've demonstrated here, your friends love you whether you drive a car or not, probably because you're funny and a good writer and you have passions and you act on them. My guess is that you consistently demonstrate these qualities and give a lot back to your friends, too. These seem like the things to spend energy on, not the ugly old lady at the grocery who might think your produce bags are a little unusual.