I have about 8 years experience in journalism. Or I had an experience in journalism about eight years ago. I wrote an article for my high school newspaper about the Dave Matthews Band. I took a brief 8 year hiatus after that article because I was having trouble dealing with the fame. But recently I decided to come out of hiding and write an article for the Peace Corps magazine. Except it was rejected. And I deal with rejection even worse than I deal with fame, so I'm afraid that my journalism career has finally come to an end. But before that I will allow you to read the article that ended the long, illustrious journalism career of Duncan Peabody. Because let's face it, if you're still reading this blog after 7 months you either enjoy my sub-par writing or you've continued to read it because of some feeling of obligation. And frankly I'm OK with either of those scenarios. So here it is:
I hate cliches more than you do. It's true. Especially the one about people going to the Peace Corps to find themselves. That's what some people said I was doing when I told them I was going to the Peace Corps. Except they said it more like “stupid child doesn't know what to do with himself” more than “how wonderful, he's embarking on a journey of self-discovery.” Anyway I didn't want to believe it. But as I've found out you can't very well be thrown into a radically new situation like this and not learn at least a few things about yourself. That goes especially for somebody as self-absorbed as myself.
In this case the radically different situation is a campo in the clouds. Before this I was living in gigantic strip mall called Tampa, FL. My closest experience to rural living was a failed attempt at growing basil on my balcony. To counter the urban sprawl I decided to try to be super green. In Tampa it was easy to talk about being green. I did it through Gmail chat on my computer in my cubicle in my windowless office lit by flourescent lightbulbs. All I had to do is say “Man when I get out of Tampa I'm gonna do this and the world will be better because of me.” I just had to finish my Masters first so I could be pretentious on two counts. “Yeah I'm gonna save the earth but I'm gonna do it much smarter than you because I have a higher education.” (followed by a smug smile). In Tampa being green meant going to the local farmers market for half your food and then buying the rest in the grocery store, imported from Sri Lanka and Nicaragua. I conserved electricity by turning out the lights, if I remembered, when I left the apartment. I conserved water by leaving piss in the toilet until a bacterial growth started on the toilet bowl and I had to make excuses why a girl had to use my roommates bathroom instead of mine. Ha. Just kidding. Girls never came over. But pretty much I was single-handedly saving the world from being destroyed.
But now I've been sent to the middle of nowhere where the topic of conversation ranges from corn to cows and then inevitably strays towards the weather. Eating local means bountiful harvests of carbohydrates. Conserving water means bathing with the last half gallon in your bucket because you're too lazy to walk down that stupid muddy path that always make the front pop out of your flip flop and then you trip and spill half the water and swear that next time you won't wear flip flops but then you do. Conserving electricity is easy because there is none. So now I'm living green for real but not in the sexy way that movie stars live green but in the impoverished way that poor people live green.
So I guess I have in fact learned a few things about myself over the past four months. Mainly that I'm not nearly as badass as my Gmail chats would have you believe. I need to charge my cell phone so that I can talk about something other than animals sometimes. Or at least about different animals that they don't know about here like deer and kangaroos and panda bears.
Also I like movies and they require technology and electricity. Sometimes you just need to curl up with a romantic comedy and have a good cry. But that's because you're a sissy. I eat steak and watch Rambo and lift heavy shit up and down.
And even though I want to get closer to the earth I don't want my floors to be made of it. It makes my pants dirty when I put them on. Or it would if my floors were made of dirt, but they couldn't possibly be because that's against PC policy.
Eating local is easy enough. Drinking local is not. Stop arguing about which Dominican beer is better. They all suck. The bread is bad here too. The yeast must be infected or something.
So it turns out I din't have what it takes to be green. I bought a little solar panel and a toxic lead-acid battery to charge my computer and phone. If I didn't already have floors made with atmosphere polluting cement (But I do because it's against PC policy to have dirt floors. I just told you that.) I would be planning on putting them in soon. I cut down a bunch of trees to plant a garden so that eating locally didn't have to include all the local health problems as well. And as long as I'm at it I'm going to go ahead and build a gravity-fed water system with lots of petroleum based plastic so that I can have running water. I still don't know what to do about the beer.
I guess you could say I went green and then took a few steps back to a more yellowy-green. Chartreuse perhaps. Somewhere in the space between the Y and the G in ROY G. BIV's signature. But I'm not yellow. If you call me yellow I'll beat you up.