I’ve always heard that pregnant and elderly people can get away with telling people off in public like no one else. I am personally looking forward to getting really big because then along with my growing belly I will’ve grown a big set of cajones that will enable me to tell people how I really feel, instead of abstaining out of politeness or fear that I could “get in trouble” (yeah, I’m nearly 30, but I have a fear of time-out). I think parenthood is going to be awesome because it will give me a new reason to try to be a good person: because my child deserves a wonderful advocate.
The other day something really bothered me on Bebe’s behalf. We live across the street from a middle school that I walk laps around daily so I can get some exercise. It takes me about four and a half minutes to make a lap, and I usually walk for an hour or so.
So anyway, I had done a couple of laps, and on the third lap, I noticed that there were two police officers in squad cars parked in the parking lot with the cars sidled next to each other so the officers could talk. They weren’t parked close to an area where they could easily exit if they needed to pull over someone for speeding or whatever, and school was not in session so they weren’t holding down the fort or anything.
Whatever, I passed by. I made another lap and passed them again. Still talking. This happened several times.
By the fourth time I passed them, I had noticed that their cars were idling and there was a steady stream of exhaust fumes coming out of the tailpipes. This really got to me for a couple of reasons. First, that gasoline is being paid for by someone. Whether or not it was tax dollars or the officers themselves, I don’t know, but it just seemed extremely wasteful. More importantly, though, was the fact that these cars were just running for no reason, spewing more pollution into the atmosphere.
The atmosphere that my baby is going to live under. The world that my baby is going to live in.
I wanted to say something, but I was quickly discouraged by the pure immensity of the climate change problem and the likelihood that nothing would change even if I asked the officers to kindly turn off their cars if they weren’t going anywhere. I felt quite overwhelmed.
This incident really made me realize, though, that my husband and I are bringing a new little life into a pretty broken world. It’s our responsibility to raise our child with an understanding that (s)he is responsible for keeping the world where she lives clean and healthy. I think for now that raising a responsible person is one of the surest ways I have to save the planet.