Archive for the ‘green’ Category

There’s a lot I could say about living in a remote mountain town, but one of the nice things is that everyone has chosen to live here, cut off from the rest of the world by a 3+ hour drive, because they want to enjoy themselves. Accordingly, everyone is so busy planning and executing said recreation that you run into a disturbing amount of flakiness. Plans are made with the assumption that about 100 different things could come up that would require cancellation. When you really want something to happen, you have to voice that it’s important that people not flake out.

Coming from the city, where this sort of will-o-the-wisp behavior is seen as disrespectful, I was, of course, perturbed at the lax attitude with which Durango denizens approached social commitments. Why were people being so obviously selfish? Didn’t they know it was rude to not give me time they said they would? Did I do something wrong in the planning stages? After spending two years amid this lackadaisicality, however, I’ve learned to swim with the current, and it’s actually quite nice in these waters. I’ve run about 20 minutes late my whole life, so it was comforting to operate in a place where everyone stays pretty calm about regular punctuality failure. And when things do come together, you know that everyone present truly wants to be there, rather than showing up out of an uncomfortable fear of upsetting others.

It’s a subtle, unspoken conspiracy of selfishness that becomes part of normal social relations. Maybe it’s a small town thing: you’re inevitably going to run into everyone you know just going about your life anyway, so it feels less imperative that you carve out special times and organize events just to make sure you see the people you like.

These days I’m all about sitting in my open-windowed apartment, listening to some blues and the birds outside, making small talk with my dog and sampling the different sitting options throughout the house for hours. Serving tables requires forty hours a week of both socializing with strangers and getting along with a tight-knit cohort of coworkers, so the solitude really allows for some emotional/mental processing. But it also necessitates a lot of declined invitations and social avoidance.

I’m not afraid to be honest. I want to be alone. It’s not about me rejecting others. It’s about knowing what I want and what’s good for me. My friends are all doing the same. If they flake out, if I’m not invited to something, I have more trust that they are doing what makes them better individuals. It’s not about me, because when I do what I want, it’s not about other people.

Assuming a certain amount of selfishness in general social operations would 1) prevent a lot of petty conflicts between friends not close enough to thoroughly understand each other and 2) ease a great deal of aggravated insecurities and bruised egos.

Because we live in a society that treats selfishness as something nice people don’t do, we are more apt to take things personally that have nothing to do with us. This attitude encourages us to build our identities in a hall of mirrors where we try to understand ourselves through others’ behavior towards us. We never get to build a center, a steady, heavy idea of self that can only be felt and never seen, because the reflections we get from others are always necessarily distorted. The best way to feel out that center is to make a distinction between doing things you truly want and doing things you feel required to do.

Really, we’re all on a sinking ship here, and you’ve got a nickel of time to spend before death catches up with you. Be genuine, be selfish, and be grateful when you have great times with others; all the rest—the petty conflicts and bruised egos—is just wasted energy that could be spent getting what you want.


let’s talk about egg whites

Posted: August 11, 2011 in green

Now, you can place me squarely in the anti-diet camp. They’re exercises for people with poor self-control which usually affect a person in one of two ways:

1. they succeed in their quest for self-discipline, which just makes them want more control, and they go crazy organizing and planning every single detail of their lives according to “healthy” rules

2. they succeed for a minute but ultimately revert back to their oreo-muching freewheeling ways, destroying their confidence in their self-control, and thus making them less likely to try to attain it

Really, people, take a goddamn walk. If you’re mildly active and don’t eat three grease-soaked meals a day, you’re gonna be fine. I’m not saying its the road to bones-sticking-out modelhood, but really that whole “oh, they’re too skinny” jibe that you say with a concerned voice even though you don’t actually care is wayy worse than being three months and 4000 crunches away from a six pack.

So anyway. All I had in my fridge for bfast this afternoon was: an old half of a white onion thats been sitting in my lunchmeat drawer for way more than a week, the last two artichoke hearts left in a jar of them from sunflower market, eggs-not expired yet-yay, about a third of a huge costco black of irish cheddar, and frozen pita.

Now, I woke this morning feeling like crap. You know those mornings when your window has been open and at 8 am the dewy freshness of newly sunlit air drifts into your sleeping lungs and invigorates your senses so that you sit up and say “Yay! A new day!” ? Well this morning was the opposite of that.

I thought about my life for the past few days: the drinking, the looseleaf tea, the pure diet of take out I’d been subsisting on, the lack of mountain air. Clearly, I’ve been misbehaving, and my body delivered a curt comeuppance in my first moments of consciousness today.

So I offered up penance in the form of an egg-white omlette. I knew I had to cook the onion pretty good for it 1. not to wreak gassy vengeance on my stomach and 2. for the old-onionness to burn off. I diced it small, put it in a sautee pan with some water and olive oil, waited for that to burn off, then added butter and turned the heat way down. Took some basil and chives from the planters outside, chopped ’em up good, added those, and sauteed more amidst g-chatting. Then I added the egg whites, then the artichoke hearts, then seasoning.

Not to brush the dirt off my shoulders or anything, but it was memorable good.

My point is, you know that kinda nauseous feeling you get when you’ve been eating eggs too much and the prospect of eating more you just can’t handle? It’s all yolk. When you’re feeling like you’ve been smoking pot and licking the grease off dirty diner pans in between shots of jack for three days, it’s the egg whites you’re gonna want. Clean, mild, non-egg tasty egg whites. Just don’t pour them out of a cardboard box, that’s just gonna lead to pancreatic cancer.