It Isn’t Easy Bein’ Green

Posted by: , March 31, 2009 in 10:44 am

Upon purchasing a new appliance, I promptly send in the warranty card.  Twice a year, at Daylight Savings Time, I check the batteries in our smoke alarms.  When I sign an agreement or a contract, I abide by its terms. 

I am a rule follower. 

My form of disobedience stems from the fact that more often than not my polite conformity is somehow in defiance with everyone else around me.  I teach my child table manners, the neighbor thinks it’s hilarious his kid can burp the alphabet.  I visit the museum and read a sign stating, “No Flash Photography.”  I switch my Fuji’s settings to Museum Mode, enter the gallery and I’m blinded by someone’s flash.So I don’t know why I was surprised when our neighborhood was lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree last night…during Earth Hour.

At 8:15 the three of us were heading upstairs, ready to climb into our pajamas.  We planned to switch on the Coleman lantern and enjoy the bedtime ritual sans electricity.  I had read all the blurbs pertaining to Earth Hour.  I had joined the Facebook group—for what that’s worth.  Along with dozens of my fellow blogger mommies, Twitter mommies, homeschool mommies and green mommies we had been awaiting this magical hour—Earth Hour. 

It would soon be 8:30 PM.   

So, we switched off the kitchen and dining room lights, the living room lights and the CD player.  We gazed around at the myriad green glowing clocks—the microwave, the DVD player, the stereo and the stove.  We were racked with guilt, knowing we should probably cut all power if we were truly going to do this thing right.  Collectively, we agreed that minuscule bit of clock illuminating power wouldn’t hurt.

What did hurt was the conk on the head that Benjamin took when he was ascending our stairs in the dark.  Together, we approached the stairs, our path lit by the bright lights of every other house in our neighborhood.  Bonk!  I heard his head smack right into the corner of the oak post at the bottom of our staircase.  I heard his muffled attempts not to cry.  I flipped on the lights in the foyer and bitterly announced, “Nevermind!  I’m not risking the health of my child to take part in Earth Hour.” 

When we arrived upstairs Ben convinced me he was okay.  And, aside from being red where he had been rubbing it, his head appeared unscathed.  So, after each reading How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and Runaway Bunny, Dad and I turned off the lights.  We headed downstairs into the darkness.  It was 8:32 PM and we realized that no one in our entire town appeared to be observing Earth Hour.  We lit a candle in the foyer and sat down on the couch.  Exhausted from our day out—a harried trip to a dinosaur exhibit at a local museum—we collapsed into a comfortable spooning position.  “Mom,” I heard Benjamin call as he moved through the hall, “I’m gettin’ up to poop.”  So much for cuddling.

I ascended the stairs and found my independent little four-year-old in the bathroom, where he offered, “You can turn off my nightlight.”  “No, that’s okay.  Dad and I didn’t want you to be scared just because we’re celebrating Earth Hour.  You can leave it on.”  He wiped his butt and climbed up onto his step stool.  Purposefully, he reached toward his Cars nightlight and switched it off.  “I’m celebrating Earth Hour, too,” he said.

I am pleased he is a respectful and conscientious child.  I am raising yet another civil disobedient citizen.  He will be a rule-follower.  He, like his mother and father before him, will stumble through life trying to decipher, which conventions should be honored and which are negotiable.  Hopefully, while observing Earth Hour, the microwave clock glowing and the refrigerator running fall under the broad umbrella of negotiable.  


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