When Eric comes home during the summer we have an affectionate ritual I like to call Rollplaying with Red vs Green. I turn into Atilla the Enviro-Hun and Eric turns into The Only Thing I Want to Recycle.
This last weekend was no different.
I was standing in the kitchen in Greeleaf, spooning peanut butter (Western Family, creamy) onto 4 mouse traps and complaining that my thriftstore cowboy boots were chaffing my skin, and that maybe I should aerosol on some sense-dulling chemical…when Eric, who was just standing there, refusing to hold my machete OR spritzer the Wasp spray I kept trying to hand him, (Spring Scent! The last thing they smell is like a fresh seasonal dryer sheet!), when he says to me,
"Why do you hate the environment?"
Now, this is a question that comes up a lot. It sort of kicks off our roll-play.
Last time it came up when I wanted to DRIVE 3 miles to the store to get limes for my beer instead of riding my bike and kissing butterflies on the way. He followed me into the garage,
and out onto the driveway. The last thing I hear as I'm rolling up the windows and cranking the air conditioner is,
"Why, Katy, WHY… Hate…Conservation…the earth!!!"
That time I decided to drive all the way to a fruit stand in Eagle to buy GENETICALLY MODIFIED MELON-SIZED limes just to exercise my FREE WILL. They were too big for my drink, but just right for my point.
Then there was the time before when, after making me watch back to back netflixed episodes of Living Green with Ed, starring frugal (eco-friendly!) funny-in-an-autistic sort of way Ed Begley, Jr.,
and his wife, Factory New Age Blonde, Personality Sold Separately, I suddenly became aware of Intent. We were on our 3rd episode, I'd run out of vodka and realized, simultaneously, that this wasn't a comedy, not intentionally anyway: I was supposed to be LEARNING SOMETHING to MAKE ME A BETTER PERSON. It was like that moment in Soylent Green, only instead of eating people, I was suddenly aware that I was being fed a shitty over the top ideal.
I proclaimed that I hated Ed Begley junior and his bullshit recycled tire clogs and that I wished I had a styrofoam cup because glass was too hard to hold empty. My wrist hurt with the disappointment of another spent beverage.
Meanwhile, the show had Eric positively writhing in ecstasy. Low wattage eco-lamps…("You ony need 12 watts to read by if you squint, which is good for your eye muscles!"), raising your own worms for composting….Eric pleaded me to watch ONE MORE EPISODE,
"This one is on PAPER PRODUCTS!" he cried. I swear he clapped and giggled like a school girl.
On our big High Definition screen Ed was digging through the garbage to investigate evidence of Wanton Waste in the household.
"We have perfectly good hand towels!" Ed cried, finding a small collection (3 tops) of wadded up paper towels huddled in the corner of a half filled trash receptacle. The camera zoomed to the outrage. Back to Ed's big red face. Out to cover both.
Ed's hands flew to his head, then to his heart, dramatically. "OHMYGOD This has to stop!"
Eric was nodding like a solar powered Jesus freak.
"No way, turn this off! It's ruining MY environment!" I said, "I'd rather have that 10th generation Chinese master from the last episode Feng Shui my woman's bits with the contents of our garage then watch another moment of this …this…ANTI-TIMBER INDUSTRY PROPAGANDA!"
This Begley guy had Eric at Hand Towel. I use paper towels FOR EVERYTHING. I've even made temporary kids clothing. (BRAWNY!) Christmas decorations! (LAZY!) Sometimes I just like the feel of ripping them off the roll. But Ed had moved on.
"A HANDDRYER for the BATHROOM!" Eric enthused. "That's ingenious!"
My sarcasm gland released such a stream of bile into my system that I could only stand there cradling my spleen, stuttering expletives.
"Why do you hate conservation?" Eric asked, finally, between shows.
Of course at this point, there isn't too much else to say except,
"Because it hurts the economy." Something I don't believe or practice except when pushed into a corner by an Ed Begley fan, or the simple love of spring scented death spray.
So, there we were in Greenleaf this last Sunday evening, standing across the kitchen from one another. Eric, I should mention, refers to wasps as, 'the bees that like Mountain Dew'….he dreams of setting up our 300 yards of Habitrail hamster housing and tubes for the Greenleaf rodents, fashioning a Hotel California sort of one-way door into it,
"They could have food and water…and a couple little wheels for them to run on…then we can release them back into the wild on weekends!…"
I just stared.
"We could use those cardboard toilet paper tubes that I've been saving for little dens…"
"I've burned all those in the burn barrel," I told him, putting the baited traps into place. "Along with the plastic grocery bags…and the paper towels that are past their expiration date…"
He gasped. It wasn't true, but it was what I'd become.
"Want a sandwich?" I offered, motioning toward the peanut butter.
He did not.
"Lunch Hater," I said, making myself one. I don't actually like sandwiches either though, so I tossed it out into the yard. Then sprayed it with Spring Freshness.