On the Road Again: Über Mom, Mother Nature

I'm with stupidWe men love our mothers.

We do.

Maybe our life-long adoration is nothing more than a genetically-ingrained “thank you!” for growing us in their bodies and bringing us to life after nine long months. Maybe it’s the unconditional love and support moms give for the avalanche of bad decisions we make as we grow from boys into men. Or maybe it’s an appreciation for all of the boo-boos our moms kissed and made “all better.” It’s probably a combination of these all and then some, but one rule holds true: if you disrespect a man’s mother, there will be consequences.

And yet, why does our society, in our drive for comfort and convenience, show such disrespect to our “Über Mom”, Mother Nature, and so few seem to even raise an eyebrow or lift a finger to defend her honor?

Case in point. The other day I headed out for lunch and pulled into the drive-through lane at a local fast food restaurant. The queue didn’t look too bad, so I expected a fairly short wait. But in front of me was a clown car with some apparently famished people. As the driver placed his seemingly endless list of orders over the course of several minutes, I noticed the line in front of him was gradually disappearing as the lucky ones ahead paid, received their food, and moved on. I also noticed the line behind me was breeding like rabbits at a carrot convention.

So, I was blessed with some extra time to reconsider the wisdom of ordering a hamburger given its impact on my cholesterol, knit a bad Christmas sweater, and ponder the meaning of life. The stars eventually did align, the seas parted, and I placed my order and the driver pulled ahead to the next window. But my hopes were dashed as I had to endure another ten minute trial as he paid for each order separately with a different debit card or cash. Meanwhile, the rabbits were multiplying in my rearview mirror as I shifted seamlessly from deep existential reflection to thumbing through my car’s owner’s manual.

After discovering I was overdue for a transmission service, the inherent ridiculousness of this all occurred to me. And it’s not because I had to wait for 20 minutes to get my meal, mind you. I spend two hours a day in traffic, so the wait was nothing more than a minor road bump. Rather, it was simply that this person dissed Mama Nature by making a conscious choice to force a dozen vehicles to puke exhaust fumes into the air when the other alternative was to park, unload the clowns, and step inside to order.

No, it’s not the end of the world and there are more serious affronts to our environment every day, but when you think of all of the things we do in our daily lives just for convenience and comfort and multiply those things by the population of the planet, the environmental consequences of even seemingly innocuous behaviors like holding up a drive-through line and pumping CO2 into the clouds are staggering.

But, as the saying goes, Let he with no sin cast the first stone. Needless to say, I won’t be throwing any rocks since I’m no saint. However, I will be taking my first step toward eventual canonization by using this opportunity as a catalyst to spur me to take an inventory of the conscious and unconscious choices I make that affect our environment. The list is seemingly endless and can range from taking shorter showers to walking instead of driving to lunch. But one thing is certain: all of these little things add up into big things and it’s time that we all reciprocated and kissed Mother Nature’s boo-boo for once.