Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jack's Green Fling: or How We Celebrated Earth Day

No, we really didn't go out to eat (see prior post). We've been so tired from work that we've been daily hacking away at the ginormous meatloaf I cooked a few days back like we're gold prospectors and it's the Mother Lode.

We're on different time schedules, too. This means that our sleeping time is precious, since one of our goals is time together, and it doesn't seem right if at the end of the day, or at SOME point in the day, our sleeping times don't overlap. And that major nightly comfort, (or daily, depending on the work shift) is hard to adjusting to being WITHOUT. We're major snugglers, and too many sleeps minus our loved one is just...well, lonely.

Taint fittin'.

When we were first married, we decided the bedroom would be a quiet zone for us -- a place for resting without noise and distractions. A place of clean sheets and plenty of pillows. Therefore, we haven't put a TV or TV monitor in there, or any stereo or computer equipment. We even have no phone in there, unless a cell phone is recharging...on "off." We even keep serious conversations to other rooms-- discussions about such things as finances, the next day's To Do list, or any other important topic needing our full attention.

The only things we really ever talk about in the bedroom are sweet somethings and who needs to give the other person a bit more of their share of the blanket. If we've not seen each other ALL day, and the other finally gets to come to bed as the first person's already sleeping, we exchange quietly-voiced hellos kept very short and factual, such as:

(Me, slipping under the covers, exhausted, in the middles of Jack's sleep) "Hey, sweetie...long day...can't wait to get some sleep."

(Jack) "Mmmmmppph, good, come to bed....mmmpppphhh."

(Me) "Did you set your alarm? I won't be awake to get you up"

(Jack) "MmmmHmmm, come to bed...mmmppppphhh."

(Me) "Ok, good...'night, honey...I love you"

(Jack, holding up one corner of the blanket and wrapping me up like a burrito with it) "I love you, too." (Then he says a quick thank you that's a thanks to God for bringing me home safely...SO cool, huh? then...) "go to sleep....mmmpppphhhzzzzzz"

And it's all over. Yes, we really cover a lot of important topics in those conversations...

Well, sometimes our sleep schedules don't coincide very gracefully. Such as the past few nights. His schedule is a few hours off my schedule, so it's hard to MAKE ourselves sleep when either we're not sleepy, or daylight is hitting one of us square in the head, fooling our body into believing that we're 18 again and can function on less than 5 hours of sleep. For me this week, 3 AM has been my T minus number. I have to get ready for work at 3 AM, so I count backwards from that number during the evening before, watching the numbers of my possible full night's sleep trickle away quickly the longer I stay up. It's just hard for me to GO to bed at 7 PM or so.

Well, anyway, when I finally do lie down in my sleep-deprived state, I'm out. Trying to get Jack to join me anytime before our usual 10 PM or so is a challenge. If he goes to sleep with me really early in the evening, oftentimes his body wakes him up halfway through a good night's sleep and he only gets a very few hours of sleep himself...basically just a nap. That doesnt work for long.

It was just this sort of situation during the past few nights. We'd shoot for some together snooze time mid-evening, but about four hours later, Jack would still be pretty much awake and would decide to go ahead and get up and be productive...or just relax awake.

Halfway through my "night" I'd awake to find my husband elsewhere. Then I'd wonder if I'd missed my alarm clock. Then the water I'd drunk four hours earlier would kick in, etc etc. "Jack, you there?" I'd call into the other room. "Yes, I'm on the computer," I'd hear him reply. "Can't sleep!"

Then I'd go back to bed and not see him again until about 30 minutes until my alarm was about to go off...and he'd be coming to bed for HIS night's sleep, just as I had to wake up. Arrrrggghh.

Oh well, we do TRY to time it better. So here's the running joke...when he is on the computer, he's "with his girlfriend."

He climbs back into bed at 2:30 AM, just before the dreaded alarm is about to wake me up. I'm not in a good humor 30 minutes before Alarm Time.

"Are you JUST now getting back to bed?" I grumble, as he climbs back under the covers.

"I found some great stuff on biodiesel," he says.

"Stop, stop, don't get all romantic on me NOW," I say, still grouchy.

"Seriously, I've been looking up Algae."

"ANGIE? Angie who??"

"Not Angie, Algae."


He continues, "Did you know that algae LOVES to eat carbon dioxide, and that it can be used as a really cheap source for biodiesel so that the world's food supply would not be strained to capacity like it currently is, and there are so many fascinating ways to utilize algae to mmwwahhh mwwaaahhh blllaaaahhhblaaahblaaahblaahh....(fade to incoherence as Robbyn falls back asleep while Jack enthusiastically continues on and on and on about the fascinating topic of algae)

(The soliloquy ends)

"I want to hear about it when I'm awake," say I, stuffing my head under my pillow.

"Go back to sleep," he says.

"I'm trying, I'm trying" I mumble. "I wish you could have come to bed sooner, instead of being on the computer with your new girlfriend. You know...Angie."

"Algae!" he says, laughing.

"Whatever, I don't want to hear about her right now. She's pond scum."

He's so into his online searches about algae being a possible world solution for biofuel that it's been his focus whenever he gets free time. He quotes statistics and sites and I'm sure when we have our next few hours together AWAKE, we'll have a great time discussing his finds. We feed off each other's momentum that way.

But till then, I refer to his time online (some of the time when I'm sleeping my weird hours) as "his time with Angie."

So, for Earth Day, my husband spent time with his little fling, Angie, while I patrolled rich gated communities in my work vehicle for the county, writing up water violations (it's officially a drought here) for citizens whose emerald front yards collectively spurt more water from their sprinkler systems than the arching spumes of a mass migration of endangered whales.

Jack strives to protect the food supply and bring Angie, er Algae, to the forefront as a likely and economical biodiesel source, while I strive to enforce a protected water table. And we get about 30 minutes of sleeping time together as a result. (At least for a couple more days till the schedules change)

As offensive as this may sound, we see our daily steps toward sustainability and responsibility as the most important "day." Celebration is a good thing, and we're happy about days such as Earth Day being used to bring the public's attention to the vast array of issues that cannot be avoided as a community and personally. We're glad for the collective voices urging awareness and stewardship...and problem-solving. We hope we're part of that collective voice!

There is an innate distrust inside of both of us for anything more "religious" about what's referred to as the Green Movement, and the use of the term "green" seems to be conveniently bandied about in so many ways, it's hard to tell just what anyone means by it. One thing we're NOT into is the loss of our freedoms and autonomy, and we are not in support of globalization of the loss of freedom to make our own choices. We agree that we're against the machine of corporate and conglomerate greed. We are suspicious of any initiative whose answer lies in heavier taxes, restrictive legislation, more regulation. We are in support of changing the current legislation, the better use of current taxes, and the protection of basic human rights...and the inclusion of our right to our own food choices and demanding equal accountability from entitities such as corporations who currently seem to be "above the laws."

Strangely, all our changes are truly "green." But we don't want to be part of a movement for the sake of being part of a movement, because movements end. The changes needed are those of a permanently-changed mindset, internally driven rather than solely externally-enforced. We look at it as a return to the simplicity of divesting ourselves of the things that have vied for the position that personal stewardship should have had all along. It affects our health, our economy, our community, our future, our present, and our freedoms. We don't want to further lose our freedoms or involve government as the primary force through which change must occur. We see the crisis that is happening now as a wake-up call, and a time of reckoning. Returning to simplicity is just plain weird to an out-of-control consumer culture, and as far as embracing that simplicity, out path is about as "green" as they come. We're not "there" yet, as far as having fully arrived at our ultimate goals...that's what this blog's about, the journey. Our society is far from being "there," and there is much to do. I'm not a pessimist...I believe we change society as we change our own life a day at a time.

Yay, for Earth Day and the awareness it hopefully brings. I hope the everyday is Earth Day, though...not a time just to appreciate the Earth, but to get down to the basics of living better each day in a way where we can all inhabit it, enrich it, and protect it responsibly.

1 comment:

Brenda Kula said...

I am with you all the way. Well said! I tried to see where you're from; so I'm assuming Florida by the sidebar. I am 51 and grew up with my great-grandmother. We lived and was sustained from our garden and chicken house. I didn't really see a can of food, that I can recall, in our simple stucco house. Our lives today are filled with preservatives and plastic and defective toys and pet food. Our government is lax and greedy. We are in way over our head for a senseless war that should never have been started (and I live and garden in Texas!). I live each day with my hands dug deep in the earth, as that is where my soul is. I will come back to read more. Eloqently written.