In the summer, my day starts around 5 AM, when I open every window and door in the house. We are the only house in our neighborhood without air conditioning, so my goal is to get the indoor temperature below 70°F. And then we close everything around 9 AM, and hope that at the peak, the temperature inside doesn’t go above 82° (or so). In our previous house, we would turn on the central air at 82°, mainly because the poor little guinea pigs looked pretty wilted at that point …
We made the decision not to have air conditioning when we built this house because we could not justify the environmental impact; call it our “greater good” conscience. Along with early rising is also early gardening: as I yank weeds at 6:30 in the morning, I have been thinking about Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” My inner snarkiness has resulted in various areas of The Commons now having names: Cindy’s Folly (a $2000 dream of abundant wildflowers in glorious display is actually 200 feet of exposed black weed barrier with holes for anemic annuals and weeds) . . . L&B’s Stupid Strip ((they wanted real grass in the verge next to their house, except the HOA owns only HALF of the strip, so there is now 3 feet of weedy grass — and they think “The HOA” should take care of the weeds because hey the verge isn’t actually their private property) . . . Joe’s NIMBY (he wanted the frontage but dang it’s a really long frontage and he shouldn’t have to be responsible for shoveling the walkway in the winter let alone picking weeds in the summer) . . . Adrienne’s Private Dog Park (I mean, where else do you expect Otto the dog to do his business and if no one really uses that walkway then what’s wrong with doing the cleanup just once a week?) . . .
The Greater Good. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. My little corner of the world really can do better, and I am doing a terrible job of containing my frustration and annoyance. Worst of all, I have turned into a bigger whinger than I had thought possible.
On really bad days, I visit our local prairie dog colony, where I recently saw the “jump yip” for the first time. I thought they were just happy to hurry me out of the neighborhood, but the scientists do not have a consensus on the meaning of the jump yip: warning? celebratory dance? seeing if other prairie dogs are being vigilant? just because? What we do know is that prairie dogs live in a cooperative community … And I do not.
So … on really bad days, I whinge, and yank weeds, and then I remember to smile smile smile, because someone once said that if you smile enough, the smile may become real. And perhaps I will believe again in the Greater Good.