I remember looking at my father like he had lost his mind. “You can’t go to a gas station without a car, it’s, it’s . . . it’s insane!” I protested, flashing my most dramatic “you’re-ruining-my-life” face. Dad was unrelenting and in the end, I furiously walked the 2.5 blocks to the gas station to fill the gas can so I could mow the lawn. Truthfully, it wasn’t a task that asked too much of me. I was old enough to drive and have a job so I was perfectly capable of running an errand on my own. I ran Cross-Country and Track so the distance wasn’t too much. It was also broad daylight and it wasn’t like I was walking through gang territory. The only thing standing in my way was a a hyperactive desire to not stand out and a touch of laziness. As I stood at the pump I furtively looked around, double and triple checking that I didn’t see anyone that I knew. Once my can was full I shamefully approached the gas station fee window with a dollar bill and a handful of change and then began my trudge home. As I approached my house the clouds of teenage ego began to clear a little and I remember thinking, “That wasn’t that bad. I don’t know why I made such a big deal about it.” I of course said nothing of the sort to my dad.
These days my ego is a little less fragile and I care much less about what other people think about me; laziness, however, can still be an issue. Since today is Earth Day I decided it was the perfect motivation to get me back into the habit of riding my bike to pick Cooper up from preschool. The ride was tougher than I would have liked it to be, but the weather was perfect and the kids thought it was a lot of fun. We pulled into the driveway and as I was unloading the kids a car pulled up in front of the house. A younger woman I didn’t recognize got out and said she’d moved into a house around the corner a few weeks prior and that she’d recognized me as the gal that biked to preschool pick-up and she figured she should say hello. We chit-chatted for a few minutes and then parted ways. Our kids are in different preschool classes and normally we would both just drive home in our unmemorable cars and pull into our garages, so who knows how long it would have taken for us to realize we were neighbors if we ever realized it at all. Sometimes doing things the “greener way” can take longer or seem inconvenient, but there are often benefits we probably wouldn’t think about. Today I added 20 minutes to my preschool pick-up routine, but I burned a few extra calories, got some Vitamin D therapy, and made a new friend. (As a bonus, Ellen got to see a few dogs.) I’m feeling sufficiently motivated to try a little harder to show Mother Earth some love. Who knows how she’ll repay me next time.