By Larry Teren
Blame the California energy crisis on all the do-gooders who call it home. Everywhere else in these fifty States of the Union, some concerned citizens make a big deal about separating recyclable items from stuff that will just lay there forever and fossilize. But, in Marin County, as everywhere else in California, they have to “one up“ the rest of us and make everything into compost.
When the rest of us put aside items for the recyclable bags, we do it out of a feeling that the good deed is done. Most of us don’t care if the powers that be actually take the recyclable garbage and process it to be re-used. In California, these ecologically infected natives (and I suppose, transplants) make sure that everything is compostable. And there is someone wearing a Barney Fife uniform of authority validating that the garbage has been put through the compost. Not only that, but food not used that is still edible is usually given to a worthy recipient. Nothing goes to waste if it don’t go into the waist.
I very recently visited sunny, nutty Marin County, California for a Friday through Monday extended weekend. Didn’t need my sunglasses even though the sun was out. I think they passed a law that the sun cannot transmit utlraviolet rays there.
Genius and concern for the welfare of citizens of California does not extend to the engineers in charge of traffic and safety in the San Francisco area. Marin County is just north of the San Francisco mainland. It seems as if all moving vehicles need to travel 19th Avenue and then Highway 101 going north to Marin County via the Golden Gate Bridge.
Talk about disappointment. Maybe Tony Bennett left his heart there but I didn’t see it or run over it. The Golden Gate Bridge is a rinky dinky small orange/peach colored roadway over the bay. It is the only bridge that can be seen for miles and makes one wonder what would happen if an earthquake damaged it. If the Golden Gate Bridge were to become impassible, it would cause commuters to add hours to travel time to find a way back to the mainland. The Verrazzano Bridge connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island is majestic and awe-inspiring. The same can possibly be said about the Throgs Neck Bridge that connects Long Island to the Bronx (I believe) . Approaching either of these two bridges can make a grown man worry. The Golden Gate Bridge, however, is just something along the way, to pass over. Maybe that is a good thing. But I like to be scared when I’m driving.
There’s another thing about the Golden Gate Bridge that I don’t understand. You can travel for free over it going north out of the city. You want to return from Marin County, it costs $6.00. There is a walkway on the east side of the bridge where you see hundreds of pedestrians passing through. This makes it convenient for those who want to jump to their death to climb up and go out with a splash. I’m hoping that they do not charge for pedestrian traffic on the bridge because that would be adding insult to permanent injury for those planning on making it a path to their final bow out. But one can do the leap of faithless belief in a future from other points as well. They do not need the bridge to jump into the choppy waters.
So, if the engineers can build a simple straight medium length bridge, why can’t they lay the roads in Marin County so that the roads don’t go through up-and-down, winding, cutouts of the mountains and along bodies of apparent salt water that have no embankments? Yeah, I know- it’s because the California voters don’t want to fool with Mother Nature.
There is apparently a California Energy Crisis. In my hotel room in Marin County, a neatly typed card is left on the desk next to the bed. It reads:
“Please assist by turning off all lights as well as heater/air conditioner when leaving room. Housekeeping staff will do so if you haven’t unless you request otherwise. Laundering linens and towels use a precious amount of energy and water. We will not provide new linens or towels unless you leave a request.”
Okay, I understand that the Pacific Ocean is salt water and possibly the bay is as well. But, are you going to tell me that with all those bodies of water that seem to sprout up everywhere, there is no repository of fresh water?
And how would you like to be a businessman in Marin County with all the crazies getting Proposition 65 passed besides the imagined California Energy Crisis? There is a restaurant on the same grounds of the hotel. A room service laminated menu sheet from the eatery is placed in each room. At the bottom of the menu card, it reads in bold letters:
“Proposition 65 Warning:
Chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defect or other reproductive harm may be present in products used in this establishment. The sale of decorated glassware must be accompanied by warnings about lead exposure. Use of decorated glassware in restaurants must pass on information about warnings to their customers.”
Now, where I come from, you cannot sell poison or lead utensils. So, why the warning? If there is a certainty that the restaurant is selling harmful stuff, it should not be allowed, period. I guess it’s the laid-back nature of Californians. They want everyone to be at one with nature. But they don’t want to fight about it. In Los Angeles, that means: Let’s do lunch, but only where they serve in glass utensils. And remember- eat it all up; otherwise, put it in the compost.
California voters want to drink fresh water but swim, surf and scuba dive in salt water. Well, apparently you cannot have both. In Chicago, our choices are drive-by shootings or deep dish pizza. If you don’t eat dairy, that’s a tough choice.