Despite my overwhelming ambivalence to urban living, there are some surprisingly entertaining moments now and again.
Today I met a guy who – disturbingly – thinks along the same lines as I do and altho that is sufficiently weird in itself, even more oddly, he used similar vocabulary and speech patterns. As one gets older, one is usually more often defined as being different from others – not more similar. This was a treat. 65 year-olds at play.
OK. Richard was better looking (6 years younger) but that hardly counts. Not to me, anyway. The waitresses I flirted with seemed OK with my charms, his looks and Larry’s wallet. (Why choose when you can have it all and a 20% tip?) And anyway, ugly is as ugly does and I like to think I do beautifully. The two of us plus our mutual good friend, Larry, had a good time at lunch letting our imaginations soar. And they were soaring green.
“We are entering a transition phase from an oil-based, growth-at-any-costs collective mind set to a more local, sustainable one. I think everyone knows that. But what does that transition look like and how do we contribute meaningfully?”
“Well, I ran away. Use less gas. That’s good. Got older and punch fewer people in the face now. That’s good. Went to live off the grid, write letters to the editor and rant about how bad others are. So I do my bit. And that all kinda keeps me busy enough most of the time. When I have some extra hours and energy, I build something or hurt myself. Usually both of those things are accomplished.”
“I don’t wanna be rude but, like, have you ever thought of, like, maybe, you know, expanding your vision or something?”
“Well, there’s always the basic King of the World-type fantasies, ya know? Cheap B movie hero transference-thing? Win the lottery? Get elected, start a rock band; that kind of thing? That works in the short run for me. But, practically speaking, I am no longer looking to build the empire. I am having trouble maintaining it, fixing things, cleaning the gutters. And I go to bed early. What were you thinking?”
“I dunno. Lately, recycling garbage and methane gas generation…….
” I do that.”
“…I meant on an industrial scale, you twit!”
“Well, if my wife’s opinion counts………..”
“Honestly, I don’t know. I just think that it is time to look at the world we are leaving our kids. I think maybe we should clean it up, green it up and lean it up. Have you read the book Oil Obesity or something like that?”
“Careful now…..we just met”.
“Sorry. Do you read those kinds of books?”
“All the time. I am drawn to them. They are depressing as hell. My kinda books. But they all hold out a glimmer of hope, too. Change or die is the basic message but change can be fun is the second. A good one is The Rise of the Naked Economy. But I also recommend, The End of Growth. Seems we are also running out of oxygen. Pretty neat, eh? But, my advice? You really have to watch some sit-coms in between tomes of doom or your alcohol consumption starts to rise. Trust me.”
“Shouldn’t we actually be doing something, tho?”
“I dunno……………but, ah…….my meter is about to expire. I gotta go. We really have to do this again, sometime. Nice to meet ya!”
“Yeah…………………..you, too. If you come up with a game changer, call me. Leave a message or something. Or tell Larry….or….whatever………….”
“Yeah, yeah…gotta run…see you guys…..”
“So, I gotta go, too, Dave. Gotta meeting. Gotta go. See ya, Dave. Good to see you again. We’ll do this again sometime, eh?”
“I’m in. Whenever. But you know……….right?
“World’s doomed. You now that, right? If it relies on us, we are all toast.”
“Yeah. I know. I consider this kind of lunch my charity work for retired guys. Hope you enjoyed your meal? Gotta go.”
“I did. See ya. Thanks for the donation!”