Friday, April 8, 2011

The Art of Negotiation

I'd like to think that not only am I a triathlete, I'm also a good citizen.  I have a job. I pay my taxes. I volunteer. If I ever saw an old lady trying to cross the street, I'd at least think on helping her. Alas, old ladies don't do a whole lot of street crossing in my area making that thought rather moot.

Since my immediate vicinity lacks any desperate need, I decided that I would help on a much larger scale. Take, for example, the weather. It's no secret that I have been having a personal feud with winter. The cold and me just don't seem to get along. The longer I brood, the longer winter seems to laugh at me. Recently, however, I've come to realize that this approach has not been fair to you, especially if you live in the northern/ eastern/ midwestern... especially if you live. You have been negatively affected by my attitude and I decided that I would fix it, or at least try to fix it.

"How," you ask, "does one lowly scrub control the weather?" If you look in the right places, you can get the right email addresses. From there, it's only a matter of phrasing your perspective in a positive win-win manner. You must go into full-negotiation mode, speak sternly, and offer up something in trade. I took these concepts and sent a message right to the source of the problem. I have a sworn confidentiality agreement banning me from sharing these addresses. The agreement does not ban me from sharing with you the content of my message. The email can be seen below, in its entirety...

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Polar Ice Caps,

I don't want to waste your time and beat around the bush. I'm going to come right out and say it, "I AM SORRY.' I am sorry for all of the greenhouse gases that humanity has thrust into the air. I am sorry for invading your shores and setting up research facilities on your face. I am sorry for the immense carbon footprint currently being spewed into the atmosphere. I am sorry for the all of the factories. I am sorry for all of the forest burnings of both modern day and industrial revolution day. I am sorry for the developing nations who are repeating the emissions mistakes of the past. I am sorry for the developed nations who allow politicking to hinder common sense. In a nutshell, I apologize on behalf of the entire human race for any past, present, and future inconveniences that we may have caused you.

Now that I, as an honorable member of our species, have formally issued condolences for our misgivings, I want to tell you what I have personally done and am willing to do in the future.
  1. I am an avid recycler. I want my community to increase their recycling abilities. Until then, I try to put as much into my little blue bucket as possible. In fact, we actually have 2 little blue buckets. We stole the one from our last house in the move just so we could recycle more efficiently. A means to an end, right?
  2. I carpool to work. In a hybrid. That's a two-fer in environmentally friendliness.
  3. I have installed zoned heating and digital thermostats in all areas of my home. When not using an area of the house, the temperature is quite low to save energy. I've learned that the low temps keep the Wife out of those rooms, should I ever need to use that to my advantage.
  4. I have, and will do more often, ridden my bicycle to work. Yes, I understand that by riding my bike to work, I ruin my carpool. I am working on getting my carpool mate to bike too. (Okay, she is working on me to bike more. What's important is that someone is working.)
  5. I like to grow vegetables and will do so on a larger scale. Not larger vegetables. Just more of them (I want to make sure I'm clear).
  6. I will hang my laundry to dry, especially my workout clothes. And, since I'm a teacher, workout clothes constitute roughly 75% of my summer garb. This is a big reduction in dryer sheets.
  7. My home does not have an AC unit, preferring to use ceiling fans as our main means of coolant. Uncomfortable in the summer, sure. But, what do you care? It helps you out.
  8. The lights in my house are consistently off. Since I'm not that attractive, this works to my benefit. Further, we are in the process of exchanging the traditional bulbs to those spiral thingies.
  9. We did the energy assessment and completed all of the recommendations that the guy advised. He was a pretty good guy. Smart-like. Maybe I'll introduce you.
  10. As our appliances go bad, we will replace them with Energy Star quality stuff. Honestly, we started doing it a long time ago, mostly because we liked the way the star looked. We learned later that there was an energy savings to accompany the designer astronomical figure. Lucky, I guess.
Understand Mr. and Mrs. Caps, that I am willing to do more. Please- I am begging you- please tell me what you would like. You say it and I'll do it. You are the boss and I am your servant. Command me and I will be your slave.

I only ask that, in return, you let go of your grasp on my region. You relinquish your desire to send unseasonable cold weather to our area, day after day, week after week, with no end in sight. Ease up on your anger. I get it. You are mad and you have every right to so be. Revenge is not the answer. I feel duly punished and thank you for my new-found humility.

Therefore, please allow the sun to heat the surface of the Earth so that I might go outside without a jacket. I want to turn off my heat. I want to open the windows and breathe the same polluted air that enrages you. I want spring and, after that, summer. I want my my whitish hue skin to be replaced with a nice shade of pink. I want my deodorant bill to increase with the decrease in my energy bill. But, I cannot do it alone. I need your help. Encourage the jet stream to take its normal place in the higher latitudes and all will be well. Warmer temperatures will arrive and I can actually break ground on that garden I want to plant. Hanging clothes will dry before they freeze. Biking to work won't come with frostbite.

Again, on behalf of all humanity, I am sorry. Please accept my apology and return life back to normal. I look forward to your response in the near future.

Humbly submitted,

The Banter

So there you have it. I apologized to Mr. and Mrs. Caps. I am uncertain which lives in the north and which in the south. I am assuming that they got the message. They are notoriously bad email responders, choosing to speak through actions rather than digital print. Since this weekend is expected to be much warmer, I can also assume that they accepted my apology. As for the rest of you, you are welcome.

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