This weekend was not a banner weekend for me. See, being green is like going on a diet. You must deny yourself the things you crave: a taxi when you are tired, a car trip when you could bike, the elevator when you could walk, a diet soda when water from the tap will do, and of course, food!
But this weekend was neither good for the planet or my health. I was invited by my good college friend John to the Cape, a wonderful chance to get out of the city. In preparation I whipped up a batch of my grandmother’s delicious fudge as a host gift for his family. You really can’t go organic there, it’s made with the questionable white stuff called marshmallow fluff. But I totally recommend it. Having tasted a piece, my roomie declared she wanted me to make it for her birthday picnic this weekend. (The recipe is on the side of the fluff jar, in case you are interested.)
I left the city with my friend and his mom on Friday afternoon, eating up the miles in a emission spewing manual BWM sedan. After only a half hour, my friend piped up from the back, saying he was hungry. He and his mom chewed over their love of Wendy’s on road trips for more than a quarter hour. “Get on 95,” he instructed. “They have Wendy’s there.” After we hightailed it to the highway, we found a sign for the fabled fast food place. (Yes, you are fast food, Wendy’s.) As we slid onto the exit ramp, on the path to eco-evil, they took that occasion to ask me, “Is Wendy’s ok?”
What dear readers, do you do in this situation? I’m sorry, but I lacked the “nerve” (you can read that as “courage” or “rudeness”) to say, “Yeah, I don’t really believe in fast food. Perhaps we could drive on further and find a place that serves organic local food?” No way!
I got one of Wendy’s new asian chicken entrees, hold the fries please, and just for good measure, a diet coke. Oh, it was bliss. Sticky asian sauce all over my fingers washed down with that sweet-caustic soda. I’m sad to say I lost all control after 15 minutes of watching them crunch on those bright orange cheese doodles picked up at the gas station.
I also ate a big slap of beef, Hershey’s chocolate, store-bought coffee cake, a lobster roll on hot dog bun… oh it just keeps going. I was totally breaking my diet, AND not being sustainable. HORROR. I did get a nice tan though. And really? Being a hippie sometimes is liking being that friend that won’t drink because they are super religious. It’s not fun. And really? That lobster roll was heaven on earth.
Sunday, after raiding a local used book store, we went on a long bike ride to a beach, which was just what I needed. On the way back we stopped at a seafood restaurant for lunch, where on John’s rec I ordered fried clams, and a delicious local blueberry beer complete with blueberries fizzing away at the bottom.
“Why do you always order local beer?” John asked.
“Cuz I like it,” I said. I paused for a moment to ponder the wiseness of my next reason, and decided to go for it. “And it’s better for the environment.”
Boy, did that open up a can of worms. John is a smart cookie- he’s a law student at NYU. But we ended up spending the rest of lunching debating whether the fault lay with consumers, corporations, or both in regards to the obesity epidemic, lung cancer, and other stuff. John blamed stupid consumers, I blamed corporations, and we both came away with a bitter taste in our mouth from the whole affair. John has this never-say-die mentality, that yeah, we are headed for doom, and we might as well live it up while we can. He also thinks green advocates are just dreaming, without ever nailing down the details. I wondered, as he drove me to the bus station, whether or not this would keep coming up. Would we always get in tiffs about it?
I took a bus home, less from altruism, but because John was staying there and I needed to come to work today. As I settled in for a long, seven hour ride and munched on an Odwalla bar, a pretty girl popped up on the TV screen on the bus (much like an airplane safety demonstration) and crowed about how green the company was. I shrugged to myself. “No hybrid buses you green-washers,” I thought.
When I finally arrived back to NYC at 12:30 in the morning, I looked longingly at the sign for taxis, turned, and trudged the other way down a long tunnel to the metro.