Underneath my yellow skin

The heat is on

It’s hot. It’s 87 ‘feels like’ 94 before 10 a.m. hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot. A slight paraphrase, but factual. It’s so hot, it hurts my feelings. It’s so hot, I have the air on, which I try not to use*. Normally, I use the air a few times in a season. This year, however, it’s been really hot in the house, even when it’s not that hot outside. I don’t feel that bad about using air because I don’t use any heat in the winter.

I have been tagged as the elite of the elite when it comes to being eco-friendly with the furnace/aircon, which pleases me. My brother and I have had discussions about this because environmentalism is his passion. So he’ll sometimes point out ways I can save more, but he doesn’t push it. Why? Because I’m bare bones already.

I have my air at 78 and my furnace at 62 (day)/60 (night). I have one light in the kitchen on most of the time and then the light in my living room when I’m in it (which is most of the time). I’ll turn the light on in my computer room when I’m there, but that’s an LED. So is the one in my kitchen. I have a hybrid car that before the pandemic, I filled the gas every three months or so. Now, it’s every six months or longer.

I do have a cat who has a carbon pawprint, but I have no kids. That’s the biggest thing. I do laundry once a month or so. I do eat meat. I’m trying to cut down on that, but it’s slow-going. The more I do Taiji weapons, the more meat I want to eat. I noticed several years ago that my meat intake was increasing. I mentioned it to my Taiji teacher; she explained that it was probably because I was upping my Taiji routine.

This is more an ethical matter for me than an environmentalism one. Meat comes from animals. They are living and breathing creatures. Factory farming is brutal and not animal-friendly (to vastly understate it). It’s hard for me to sit comfortably with that. I would prefer to eat non-meat protein, but there is something just so satisfying about meat.

My brother and I have this ongoing conversation about environmentalism. He does EV car shows and has a passion for EV cars. I do not begrudge him this, but he has a hard time seeing how niche it is. And how far out of the norm it is. A few years ago, he stated he thought that maybe 50% of cars on the road were EV. Well, maybe not that high. I can’t remember exactly, but it was a high enough percentage that even I knew he was out of line–and I know nothing about cars. Nor do I care. I’m going to say he said 25%. That seems like a reasonably high number.

When I expressed my incredulity, he said that everyone he knew drove one. I pointed out to him that was confirmation biased and said it was much lower. I think I said it was probably around 10%. I was off by the power of 10. It’s 1%. I think at the time we talked, it might have been 2%, but now it’s less than 1%. I could be making up the 2% number, but the 1% number is straight from Google.

My brother could not believe it when I told him the number. Honestly, I was shocked at how low it was. I would have thought it was in the 5% to 10% range. But, in retrospect, it’s not surprising that the number is so low. My brother has tried to explain at length how an EV costs less in the long run (along with solar panels, which he also has). I do not disagree. I’m sure it does cost less in the long run, especially since you don’t have to pay for gas.

But it costs more in the beginning and/or you have to go through a number of steps to secure loans for it; therefore, most people won’t bother. In addition, and this is something I know very well, when something is far outside most people’s norm, they won’t bother trying to understand it. And driving an EV is a whole different mindset than buying a gas-powered car.

In addition, there is a perceived elitism of people who own and drive EVs, especially Teslas. Teslae? A Tesla. My brother admits that there is some snobbery among the people in his Tesla group. It’s understandable as there are always gatekeepers in any group. But the best groups are the ones who keep their gatekeepers in check.

Let’s also not forget that Tesla and other EVs ain’t cheap initially. And that part of what they’re selling is the whole gestalt of the EV (again, especially Tesla). My brother prides himself on being logical, and yet, I watched him talk himself into buying a Tesla several steps above the one he originally intended to buy. Each individual reason was logical, but it basically boiled down to him thinking the high-level Tesla was sexy.

There’s no shame in that. It’s why I want to buy a really pretty set of double sabers even though I have a perfectly functional pair. I want the pretty pair that will wow people with how fancy they are. It’s just amusing that my brother had to justify it as a monetary decision when it clearly wasn’t.

When we talk about EVs or solar panels, I often feel that we are talking at cross purposes. He wants to talk about money as if it’s the sole thing that matters. He struggles to realize that people’s beliefs and ideals are just as real to them as money. So if they believe that an EV is more bothersome than a gas car, he’s not going to change their minds by pointing out money, money, money.

This is one of my brother’s shortcomings, he can’t understand emotions very well. He thinks if he makes a sound logical argument, people will see his side of the issue. He really cannot comprehend them coming back with emotional reasons for not agreeing with him. Which, fine. We all view things differently. But it’s going to be headache after headache if he can’t adjust his thinking.

I try to get across to him that just laying out the facts isn’t going to win people over. It’s not working great so far, but he’s more willing to consider it than he was five years ago.

By the way, the fact that I knew better than he did about how many EVs are on the road is pretty indicative of the mentality of our family. Everyone is convinced they are right. This is true for everyone, of course, but it’s doubly true in our family. My father–there’s absolutely no convincing him that he’s wrong. It won’t even register on his radar. My mom is more enraging because she’ll ask for your opinion, but won’t ever take it. My father doesn’t ask for your opinion, by the way, he just informs you of his and expects you to agree. My brother just states his opinion, but he is willing to listen to mine. Sometimes. With a lot of forceful pushing on my part. As for me, I will listen to other opinions, but I won’t acknowledge them at the time. I’ll check them out later and if they’re right, I’ll give credit where it’s due.

In these cases, I should say it’s not opinion, but facts. Like my father stating that the cold opens your pores so viruses have an easier time getting in. I mean. I don’t even know where to start with that one, and it was foolish of me to try to argue with him, but argue I did. And it made no difference.

It’s difficult to be the one always questioning because I sometimes talk myself out of what I know to be true. With so many strong voices around me; I have trouble speaking my truth. Oftentimes, I know I’m the only one with that thought. That has to be enough on most days because I won’t get anything more.





*Well, it’s mostly because the housecleaner is coming and the agency requests that the air is on before they get here. Which I think is wise.

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