Friday, April 24, 2009

An Open Letter to the Planet Earth

Dear Planet Earth:

I just learned this past week that I owe you an apology. You see, a London-based researcher (probably eager for a little Earth Day publicity to keep his grant extended) released a report saying that fat people are pretty much responsible for global warming. (Matt Drudge, the bottomfeeder of web news aggregation, titled his sensationalistic headline "Scientists' Alert: Fatties Cause Global Warming." Stay classy, Drudge!)

I pondered this concept as I traveled to work the other day, being passed in traffic by petite Washington women driving solo in Hummers and Escalades and Land Rovers (complete with roo bars - because you never know when you might get assailed by cattle or kangaroos en route to your Georgetown hair appointment!) I get that I am using up more fuel by driving a car in general. Any of us behind the wheel is guilty. I live in the suburbs, far enough from a Metro station that I cannot walk with my damaged spine (damaged by - wait for it - a thin Washingtonian woman driving alone in an enormous SUV) and Montgomery County doesn't run buses in my neighborhood on weekends. And considering that someone threw a Big Gulp at me in my car for being fat, I'm not about to start biking on Rockville Pike and find out how much hate there is for someone without the protection of some steel, thanks. I want to or need to go to the store? I drive. But I don't drive aimlessly, and I draw up shopping lists, just like my mom used to do, to maximize my efforts, minimize my travel time, and my impact on the environment.

I live in an area where excess reigns supreme, despite the green rhetoric. White Hummer limousines are not uncommon sights. (Not sure what's worse about that statement, btw: white limousine or Hummer limousine?) Saw one parked outside the Apple store in downtown Bethesda just two nights ago at oh-so-tony Bethesda Row. You cannot walk a block in downtown DC without seeing a dozen people with disposable coffee cups in their hands (usually, it's coffee cup in one hand, Crackberry in the other) - and 99% of those babies are not ending up in a recycling bin at home or at work. There are people here with homes that require the GNP of a medium-sized African country to cool in the summer and heat in the winter. You can find receptions all over this region, night after night, with seas of bottled water and tons of wasted food. That London scientist? His suggestion is that one of the reasons fat people cause the seas to rise and the ice caps to melt is because of all the increased food production. Apparently, he's never been to a reception full of well-heeled K Street lobbyists, piles of water bottles, and a four-foot-high fountain of shrimp. Let's face it - this is a place where a lot of people live high on the decadently disposable hog on a regular basis.

But I don't. Nor do my friends. But none of us are poster children for Washington wealth.

Would it be different if we had the big bucks?


Even if I had the moolah to be a gas-guzzling wastrel, it just wouldn't appeal to me. I'd like to think I'm making efforts to help maintain your health, Mother Earth. But apparently, since I'm fat, I'm doing more damage than the self-indulgent boneheads I see filling up their 7-feet-to-the-gallon urban assault vehicles with premium gas. Go figure. Who would have guessed? It's just another reason Why Fat People Suck, it would appear. Do we all get trophies for our continuing suckage?

Guess I'll go hide my face in abject shame now. I'm killing you, dear Planet Earth. Is there a big scarlet F for fat that I should have tattooed on my forehead, or perhaps velcroed to my chest? Dear god, no one should be seen with me! (Well, at least the strange, lycra-clad bike courier who propositioned me on my way into the office on Wednesday wasn't offended by me or my global warming-inducing size. He wanted to - and I quote: "Dive into all that hot loveliness." Of course, I could not take him up on his offer for many, many reasons. Lord knows, I would not have wanted that "hot loveliness" to further increase your temperature and climatic damage, dear planet. Of course, it was also only 43 degrees outside, he wanted to "do it" under the giant magnolia directly outside the entrance to my office, and, unsurprisingly, I didn't want to know what was under the dirty lycra leggings.)

Listen, Earth: I'm walking. I'm trying to eat right. I'm limiting my driving. I freaking recycle every damn thing I can. Apparently, that isn't enough, though.

If I became a skinny Washington babe and drove a massive car all alone, would that be better? Would my global warming activities be less offensive to the general public?

I know. I'll just try to breathe less. How 'bout that?

Personally, I think shutting down Drudge's website would bring about a massive reduction in hot air and pollution. But that's just me.

Hugs and kisses, dear planet. Dig your crust, love ya to the core.

Fiercely yours,



Chuck said...

I admit, I'm TERRIBLE when it comes to recycling. Part of this has to do with living in's like recycling, what's that? I do recycle stuff at work (where there are bins for paper, plastic, and cans) but that is not an option at my apartment complex...I'd have to create my own bins and drive to a recycling place myself, which I haven't done. I do try to limit driving although that has as much to do with the traffic sucking here as anything else.

Merujo said...

Montgomery County, MD, where I live, is a Recycling Nazi Zone, and in my apartment complex, if the trash guys suspect you have recycling in your trash bags, they won't take them. Oh, what fun!

Washington Cube said...

I have recycling Nazi garbage men, too. Isn't that funny? I've had to get clever with garbage.

Hummers and Chevy Trucks are popular in Mexico and border towns with the drug Mafia. I learned this from watching Los Narcos videos on You Tube. They have songs written about themselves and the videos have 1) drug members with faces blurred out; 2) the car(s) with fancy rims; 3) rooms or money counters...but lots of money; 4) a statue to Saint Malverde (guy with moustache...could be Phil of Playaz); 5) rows of guns...even the bullets lined up neatly. If I was REALLY clever, I'd make a You Tube video song version of Los Narcos, but with footage of D.C. drivers.

P.S. I travel my trips out in the car to do as much as possible re: chores on one trip.

Anonymous said...

Why do you have so much anger toward thin people and rich people? This is a thread that runs through a lot of your entries.

Merujo said...

There's no anger here toward thin people (unless they are jerks who just happen to be thin - I do a lot of physical description in my entries.) What I impart is the recognition that, societally in the Western World, thin people are considered "better" and more virtuous despite any bad/negative/stupid behaviors they might engage in, compared to fat people. And when an entire group of people is blamed for something like, oh, say, global warming, I will present arguments to counter that position. The question remains, would my driving cause less global warming if I were a skinny chick in an enormous car?

As for rich people? I know some very wealthy folks who are very decent humans. But also I see - on a very regular basis - so much ignorant, careless, and self-important behavior and attitudes from people with money here in DC, it bothers me. A lot. Wouldn't it be wonderful if grace was one of the "burdens" of a great fortune? I would like to think, if I ever became wealthy, I would be one of the decent people of wealth. (That ain't gonna happen, but there you go!)

It's a matter of personal experience.

If you are rich and thin or rich and/or thin, I'm sorry you were offended! I work in an office full of wonderful, mostly thin, healthy folks. And I like 'em. No hate there.

But I will continue to compare and challenge the misconceptions that I am a lesser and/or ignorant human because I don't meet societal norms. And I'll do so very vociferously.

Thank you for your comment. Just wish you'd had the confidence to not be anonymous.

Merujo said...

BTW, I reviewed my posts for "anger" toward thin or rich people, and I crunched some numbers for you. You'll find it here:

Anonymous, you might want to revise your believe that my "anger" appears "a lot"...

Robin said...

Merujo -- I do believe that you describe a county, your portion of a county, that is dissimilar than what most people are able to experience. You do highlight some of the negative aspects more often than the pretty oh this is so nice aspects, but it doesn't mean that what you write is not a true witness from your perspective and location in your life. There are many ways to calculate the human effect on global warming. Of course in an area where consumption is practically a given, the average "carbon footprint" is likely to be higher. I was carless for some time and buses don't tend to run in my neighborhood nearly so often on weekends, either. I've actually driven a lot more than usual lately and while I downgraded vehicles, I know I should go back to walking more, when I can. As to the food idea that author presented, hmmm, is it even accurate to say that larger people always eat more food? Even if that's accurate, I personally believe that what and how one eats, and what containers were used and methods for washing, are higher indicators of potential global warming effects than simple portion size. Eating lower on the food chain, or at least more often is one huge way to have less of an effect, using washable napkins and plates and utensils helps, too. I didn't read his article, but it sounds incomplete to me.
You do sound upset here, but pffft on that, you were responding to an article that appeared to you to blame global warming on larger people. I can put that into greater perspective, and am not feeling a need to be defensive against what you wrote (meaning, anonymous does not "get" what you're saying here, is incorrect, and is not worthy of all that bother; it's one comment).

Robin said...

Oh, I have to add -- in the past week, I've seen at least two, perhaps three, white hummer limousines. My daughter finds them incredibly ugly, and I can't imagine she and her friends would want anything to do with one for their proms.

Merujo said...

They are astoundingly awful, are they not?