For the past fifteen months, when upstate, Mr. Green and I have been composting kitchen garbage. True to our let's-reinvent-the-wheel natures, we didn't buy a compost bin or read as much as an article on how to go about composting. We designated a spot under an ancient pear tree 'the compost pile' and throw a piece of firewood on top of kitchen garbage along with a few stalks of cut hay. The fact that there are deer galore, raccoons and skunks, a large family of ground hogs and another of rabbits sharing the property has keep the question alive if what we put out for compost turns into their salad bar when we're not looking. So it was with some joy that I went to turn the compost for only the second time this summer, a job that's supposed to be done weekly.
Good news! Our carrot tops, kale spines, egg shells and apple cores seem to actually be turning into a pile of black dirt! But it's an awfully small pile of black dirt considering how much stuff we've put out there ... which leads me to believe that our salad bar theory is also true.
With mixed emotions, I washed my hands, packed up my computer and 'marketing files' and we headed back into the city. Living in both the tranquility of upstate New York and the beehive of New York City is a joy I never imagined I'd know.
But getting out onto the highway, it quickly became apparent that not everyone on the road was returning to the city from a tranquil place. While I motored along in my zen state, one car beeped aggressively just to let me know he was passing and a number of drivers cut us off zigzagging from lane to lane at high speed. This prompted me to wonder: Whatever happened to 'passing on the left'?
Shortly after a police car passed us and, I'm happy to report, he passed on the left, but was so far over the line into our lane that I was afraid he might clip us. This prompted wondering if modern life has gotten to be too much for me... Isn't that still the deal? Don't we still each GET OUR OWN LANE??
Only yesterday I was marveling at an exhibit of farm tools at the county fair, astonished at how much effort, ingenuity, energy and the time of men, women, children and animals went into simply growing and harvesting the food. There was even a wooden treadmill for a '40 lb. dog' to churn the butter! Nobody got off easy.
I don't want to romanticize an era when women were actually indentured servants without a vote, a voice or any rights at all, but it seems that in 'former times', this kind of behavior would not have been the norm.
A) People would have been in horse-drawn carriages traveling at the speed of a jog and calling a greeting to each other-- or not calling a greeting but probably not trying to give the finger to or needlessly endanger a stranger's carriage.
B) When you're out working up a sweat, breaking your back and seeing the fruit of your labor, you generally feel some sense of satisfaction and humility at your part in the greater scheme.
On the road today, it looked like an epidemic of frustrated, angry and alienated people who actually don't know how to drive. Mr. Green tried to put it into context: "I've heard of this before. People get behind the wheel and their personality changes. It's a sort of neurotic response to the power of the car." Road rage? At least today no guns were involved.