A funny thing happened to me at lunchtime today and the experience was surreal. Let me tell you about it.
It was cold, wet and blustery outside so I decided to forgo my regular lunch time walk and stayed indoors. I was sitting on a couch in the lunch area at work, enjoying the rain falling across the city through the window perched 31 floors above street level. Occasionally I took a glance at the green living magazine in my hand treasuring the moment.
After about 5 minutes of peace and quiet, six work mates (many who I have known for at least 5 years + and are friends), turned up fresh from the food court located at the bottom of the building, each carrying their choice of burger, hot chips and a coke. I spied enough calories on the table to feed a large village in Africa for a week! However, I digress.
I kept quiet, reading my magazine and just listened. The conversation started with a one-up-man-ship about how much food each of them could consume (specifically meat) at some local all-you-can-eat joint down the road. I briefly thought about the times that I used to do the same thing, and could scoff back half a cow in one sitting. I also remember how sick I used to feel internally for days afterwards, and didn’t envy them at all (I didn’t really eat half a cow. I exaggerated to make a point). However, what was about to occur captured my imagination.
The friendly banter soon turned to football, and the various codes that are played in Victoria. On a side note, many men in Melbourne are football mad. It is the first thing they talk about Monday morning, and spend all Friday afternoon wondering who will win the games over the weekend.
This football conversation ebbed back and forth between the blokes, each trying to outdo each other with their knowledge of the game and their favourite players. It was about this time that I realised that even though I knew these guys well, I had no bloody idea what they were talking about. It was like I was listening to a crew of Klingons without a universal translator to help out.
You know that the funny thing was that I didn’t really care. Now don’t get me wrong, I pride myself as being as blokey as the next bloke, but it struck me that besides some aspects of work, I had nothing in common with these guys any more. I was vastly different in my values, my beliefs and my interests.
Then a really amazing idea came to me. What if, I thought, instead of the passionate banter and interest they had for football, that they turned their blokeyness towards sustainable living, as I have? What if, instead of boasting about who’s footy team had the best players, they bragged about how much renewable energy that their solar PV systems generated each day, trying to out do each other? What if, they egged each other on about how many days in a row their chickens laid eggs, and who’s hens laid the largest bun nuts? What if, instead they talked about how much water they had in storage and how much rain they had harvested from all the rain today? What if, all of these green topics were all talked about with the same vigour and passion as they have for football? I am not bagging them, and I respect their differences, but what if?
Think how truly amazing that transformation would be for the environmentally apathetic blokes of this country. Just think of how far the normal Aussie bloke’s competitive streak could take us towards making a real, yes I mean real, difference towards tackling climate change and preparing for the end of cheap oil. Instead of bragging about their huge 4×4 V8 SUV monsters, they might just brag about their Electric Vehicle conversion of said beast of a car and how many kilometres they managed to squeeze out of a charge, or how they souped up their bicycle with an electric motor!
When I finally hear that sort of banter around the lunch table, I will faithfully know that we are on the road to transition. Until that day, I will dream of what if…….