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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Another voice
May 5, 2010 - 9:46am

So, I'm sitting in my chair, drinking my first cup of coffee this morning and checking my email, when it starts.

Mmmmmrrrrrrrrwwwwwwwooooo! Mmmmmrrrrrwwwwooooowwwwoowwww!

Damn tomcat's around again. The good news, I guess, is that he's coming around in the daytime. Last summer, it was at night. All night. With the windows open, he came through loud and clear. Or so I thought at the time.

Mmmrrrwwooowww! Mmrrooww? Mmrrrup!

He used to serenade (if that's the word) my daughter's cat, Xena. But Xena's kind of cold and haughty -- she sat in the window, accepted his protestations of love as her due but returned not even the slightest notice. And besides, Xena (and the daughter) are still away at school. So what's his motivation now?

Mmmrrrrrrrwwooooooooo! Yeooooooohhhh!

The other house cats don't even seem to notice. They're older, and past the lust-and-kisses stage. The formerly-male one is still kittenish (getting his pockets picked seems to have condemned him to a life of frolic), but the others pretty much mind their own business. No use for outsiders, unless you count the occasional mouse which makes a brief (and predictably fatal) foray into the house.

Mmmmrrrroooooo! Yeooooouuuu! Mmrrrey! Yoouu!

Hunh! He's sure talkative this morning! Wonder who he's talking to?

Mreiiim talking to you, you big dummy!

What the . . . ?

Mrrroooou listening? I'm talking to you!

Since when can cats talk?

Since forever, in practical terms. We mostly choose not to talk to stupids. I wouldn't be talking to you right now, except that bN@3^Zfu made me promise I would.

Hunh? What? Who?

One of the cats you keep inside with you. Kind of old and slow and lazy. Scared if she talked to you herself, you'd stop feeding her. And there's not enough real food in there for her to be able to eat naturally, so she didn't want to hiss you off.

Didn't want to talk to me herself? What did she want to talk to me about?

About how you're a grump, and a pain in the butt. About how you need to calm down, and sleep in the sun more, and stop aggravating everyone around you. About how you're creating a real negative atmosphere in the whole place. She says that even the dogs have noticed. I'm taking her word for that part. I never talk to dogs myself. Shouldn't even be talking to you, but . . . well . . . I promised. So, anyways . . . learn to chill!

OK, look. I don't know why I'm explaining this to a cat, but I've been pretty stressed lately. It's been a tough semester, and there's a lot of work around here that I'm trying to get done, and . . . well, mostly, it's my job. The job is getting to me.

I'm not sure what job you're talking about. Is that something you do here?

Well, not right here. My job is in Backboro. I work at Greenback University. I'm responsible for doing whatever it takes to make the school more sustainable -- change things so that it fits more readily into the natural world and the community. Trying to make Backboro more sustainable, too, because the school can't do everything on its own.

Fit more readily into the natural world? No wonder you're stressed. They've got the wrong dumdum in charge, and -- oh, look! -- it's you! What do you know about fitting into nature? I mean, look at you! You don't fit into nature, yourself! Now, me, I fit into nature. I live in nature. I am nature. They should put someone like me in charge. That is, if I cared. Which I don't, because your so-called school is probably mostly made up of dumdums pretty much like you. And, besides, it's not here. So I don't care. And I don't care that I don't care. And you shouldn't care, either. Caring messes up your head.

Well that's easy for you to say. You don't depend on a regular paycheck. As a matter of fact, it doesn't look to me like you depend on much of anything. And what do you mean I don't fit into nature? I'm surrounded by nature every day! I live as naturally as I reasonably can. I've been living on farms, surrounded by nature, pretty much my whole life!

Man, bN@3^Zfu was right! You are a grump. Stupid one, too!

And he walked off across the road, into the pasture, down by the stream. He looked pretty irritated. I know I was.


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