03 December 2009

When love isn't green

I've mentioned a couple times, that while I am working towards living a more granola way of life, I am in a relationship with a man who doesn't always subscribe to that sort of approach. He has every opportunity to do so. I fantasize about his huge backyard. I imagine fruits and vegetables growing. Herbs and Flowers. I imagine using the compost from his kitchen to nourish the earth in his backyard. My fantasies run deep.

His backyard is used to store the trailer to his truck for his motorcycles. His backyard houses a rusted basketball rim but I believe it holds extremely significant value to him. And it houses all of Mr. Magoo's poop and pee.

I was speaking with Sam about how my life with Mr. Officer would align with these kinds of differences. These differences materialized in small ways during our time together at the Ritz last week while I was working in New York.

Let me explain.

I don't own a tv. By choice. I have a laptop and hulu and a netflix account. Any show that doesn't fit into either of those isn't worth watching.

Mr. Officer. He has a tv in every room of his house. A flat screen tv in every room of his tri-level, three bedroom, two bathroom house. Even the bathroom. Even the kitchen and dining room which open onto themselves each have a tv.

When visiting him, I don't make a fuss. It's his house. I'm a guest. His favorite guest! But its his house. He makes the rules. Just as I told him, when ever he came to Chicago he would have to do without a tv.

While we stayed in the hotel, I kept the tv off as much as possible. The TV served as white noise for him. So we went back and forth turning the tv on and off throughout the night. I could stand it until it woke me up again and then I'd turn it off. He'd put up with that until the silence of the night was unbearable and turn it back on. What if we ever live together? I have a no tv in the bedroom rule. He has a tv in every room rule and it has to be on at all times rule. WTF? I think I could compromise with it being in the room so long as I didn't have to hear it every night while falling asleep.

I also have a little thing about electronics in my bedroom in general. My cell phone, my laptop, ... all of that stuff. I keep it away from my bed. So in the hotel room I had my phone across the room on the desk while I sat on the bed....watching tv.... with Mr. Officer. My phone would buzz because of an email or facebook notification or text and each time I'd jump out of bed, check my phone, respond if necessary and then get back in bed leaving the phone on the desk. I must have jumped up like seven times before Mr. Officer was like, "What are you doing? Why don't you keep the phone with you in bed? You look crazy." I told him that I didn't like having electronics in bed. I liked having my phone away from me. "Suit yourself," he said. And throughout the night every so often he would send a text just to screw with me because he knew I'd get up each time. Silly Officer.

Now part of Mr. Officer's NonGranola Tendencies are due to his career. He always needs one or sometimes two laptops on him. His phones always have to be turned on. He has to use a variety of cars.

But seriously...he has seven computers, four cameras, three personal cars, two motorcycles, TV's EVERYWHERE, and the list goes on and on and all these things are ALWAYS on. The first time I stayed over night with him, I jumped at every sound and barely slept. At any given moment something would beep, tick, ring, or buzz. But I've gotten used to it. There are many adjustments I've made willing because its what comes with dating someone in his position. I get it. And while the thought of his electricity bill scares me, I know there are other ways he wouldn't mind being a bit more sustainable. (He probably pays in just taxes and tariffs what my full bill of $15 is.)

  • I'm pretty sure getting him to recycle wouldn't be an issue. 
  • Since he is VERY health conscious, purchasing organic fruits and vegetables would be a breeze. He loves local places. (He thinks New York is the center of the world.) So the whole eco-conscious eating thing would be SO easy. 
  • It might take some convincing but I think after working him over a bit, he'd let me have my way with his unused backyard.
  • I doubt he will unplug things from the wall. All of your arguments are not going to convince him.
  • He will never get on a bus or train
  • He probably won't ever buy things used.
The will he or won't he list could go tit for tat.
    Although I find it funny. One of the organizations he leads is all about mentoring children. He's also a basketball coach and he has been quoted as saying, "We need to leave the world better than we found it." or something to that effect. He uses that to talk about why its important to have great relationships with children. But of what use is having people, if the very world itself can no longer sustain us. Perhaps if I use his own logic and the things he cares about, I could spin it in a way that would shift his paradigm of thinking and he might try a few granola things.

    I will definitely be using the tips from Green Girl Meets All American Boy to figure out our sustainable life together. My friend Sam mentioned that since dating her awesome boyfriend, because they are near each other, they pick up habits and tendencies from each other. Now he is recycling more and being more conscious about the way he consumes and his energy usage. Perhaps once I live closer to Mr. Officer that will be the case too. Does any one have advice? I will also say that its not my goal to convert him to my paradigm of thinking and if he never set foot in a thrift store it wouldn't be the breaking point of our life together. I just think there is room for growth and I don't want to ever lose any of my granola tendencies. HELP!


    Shelagh said...

    Hi SLY,

    I thought this was a great post because I'm sure there are tons of people everywhere who are having the same kinds of conflicts. I don't really have any advice, but what I can say is that as you know, I started on a green journey pretty recently and before that I honestly NEVER ever would have thought that my husband would go without tv. Three months into it, we gave up our cable subscription. Not that I'm saying that you can change people, but it was kind of a gradual influencing (not through words, but just by seeing some of the things I was trying to do and being supportive of it). And, we'll always disagree on some things, too.

    And... I'm a romantic at heart too so I think that if two people love each other they will find a way to be true to themselves and be together... I don't think you'll ever lose your granola tendencies!!

    Good luck!!

    Anonymous said...

    I love this post because I'm going through the same situation (as you probably know). Austin's "never-ever-give-up"? Meat. I feel like I've tried everything and that boy still loves his industrial hamburgers. Good luck with weaning him off the tv. Maybe you could start by switching to music instead and going from there?

    Also, thank you for the mention about my blog in your post! It's so nice of you to think of my blog and I appreciate it so much!

    I can't wait for more updates about Mr. Officer and his turning green!

    Eco Mama said...

    One step at a time SLY. I think he's lucky to have you and I'm sure you're rubbing off on him. Your lead by example approach is way more effective than putting on the pressure. I think there's much hope! Maybe you'll turn that yard of his into a little Eden one day in the not so distant future.
    Eco Mama

    SLY said...

    @ Eco Mama, Shelagh and Greenmyguy...thanks so much! Sometimes I feel greening Mr. Officer is going to be hopeless but leading by example seems like a great way to start. I'm going to try that when I move out there.