Going greenish

Kristine Gill

Pretty much nothing about my life is “green.” When I drive my mom’s car, it’s not running on grease and our house isn’t solar-powered. Sometimes, when I can’t find a recycling bin, I’ll chuck my pop can in the garbage. But I appreciate the idea of going green. I think it’s really great, actually, and if I weren’t struggling to pay the first of our new college apartment’s electric bill, I’d invest in a geothermal-whatever system to heat the place instead.

So I won’t lie. When I rode my bike the entire 15 minutes from the apartment to campus last week, it wasn’t because I felt some strange desire to be eco-friendly. I rode my bike because, since getting towed, I’m paranoid to park anywhere. I can’t afford another tow fee when I’m trying to pay my electric bill. I also rode my bike because, come fall semester, I won’t have the luxury of using my mother’s car. I figured I’d better get used to biking.

And yeah – I’m embarrassed. I’m also embarrassed that I’m embarrassed. But I want to get over that embarrassment.

If a limo were waiting outside to whisk me off to a week at the spa, I wouldn’t feel the need to do the dishes, take out the trash or fold my clothes. But when the only thing waiting for me is a 10-speed mountain bike and 15 minutes of hilly campus terrain in 90-degree weather in broad daylight and in public, I don’t mind making my bed and cleaning up the baño.

So I dawdled a little bit – OK, a lot – before strapping on my backpack, triple-checking that I had my brand new bike lock and key, and heading out. Little did I know it would be the last time my butt felt normal.

I’ve had my fair share of track and cross country practices and I cruise at a mean power-walking speed. In other words, my rear is pretty hard and I can handle a good workout. But holy kickstand, I was not prepared for what three miles and 30 pounds of a backpack would do to my gluteus maximus.

I convinced myself that every car and person I passed on my commute was staring at me and judging me. I’m pretty sure I was just being paranoid, but I couldn’t help but perspire even more under their casual glances each time I hit a bump in the road or made an awkward stop. I reassured myself, though. For all they knew, I’d been riding my bike around campus for years and knew exactly which sidewalks had bike-friendly ramps and which parking lots I could cut through.

I made it to my destination that day and rode home in the dark that night. I felt like a badass. Then I felt like a dork for feeling like a badass. I always feel great when I do something like that on my own, or for the first time, and it works. But I settled with dork when I found myself searching for gel bike seats and headlights online that night.

I’m also getting more excited about the whole going green thing. Not only did I save money on gas when I opted to bike, I also avoided polluting the environment. I’m especially conscientious about turning all the lights off in my apartment and only running the water when I need to. I guess you could say I’m on my way to going green and saving the planet.

I rode my bike and saved some gas. But on my way from Kent to my home in Mentor, I realized I forgot to turn my laptop off. It will be on in my apartment for four days while I’m gone. I considered turning around and driving back to turn it off. Waste of gas? You understand my predicament. This cancels out riding my bike that day. Sheesh. We’ll call it “greenish.”

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper

journalism major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected] if you want to join in her half-hearted attempt at a green lifestyle.