The city mouse and the country mouseJanuary 14, 2011
The country mouse went to visit her city mouse friend. It was fun, exhilarating, dangerous (not very), and just all round different from country living.
The country house is cool, some would say cold. The thermostat is at 64 during the day, 55 at night. According to the utility company the country house uses considerably less energy than comparably sized houses.
The city house (apartment) was warm; so warm the windows were usually cracked open to cool it off. But it was still probably more efficient than the country house because the apartment warmed and was warmed by the apartments above, below, and to the sides.
The country mouse recycles at the country house. They don’t have curb-side recycling because the town isn’t large enough; but they have convenient bins in the middle of town for newspaper, #1 and #2 plastics, and metals. The country mouse’s husband loads up the car and takes the recycling to the bins about once a month. The city mouse can recycle everything, or nearly so, and do it easily in her building. The country mouse is envious.
In the city whatever the city mouse needs is probably within walking distance (crossing the streets – that was the dangerous part), and if not, there is a well-developed network of public transportation to get the mouse where she needs to go.
Back in her country town the country mouse can walk to the grocery store, the dollar store, the bank, the post office and a few different eating/drinking establishments, but generally doesn’t unless the weather’s very nice and the mouse doesn’t need to buy much. If she needs anything beyond the basics she will have to drive out of town or do without. In the city the country mouse and the city mouse walked a lot, and took the bus, and took a subway, and even took a boat. The country mouse enjoyed the diversity of modes of public transportation.
The city offers lots and lots of things to buy; things to wear, to eat, to use, or to own just to own. The country mouse enjoyed shopping and looking, but there was so so much it was a bit overwhelming for the country mouse. Besides, anything she bought she’d have to pack in her bag. Still, the country mouse found a few things, including reasonably priced skeins of lambs wool that she bought at a farmer’s market. The country mouse is familiar with farmer’s markets, although she generally has to go to another town to go to one.
The country mouse ate well. The country mouse loves calamari and ate it 3 times in two days. The city mouse also ate lots of lox, and had lox roe too. None of this was local, but the salmon was not farm raised Atlantic, and she’s never seen calamari on a do-not-eat list, so the country mouse felt o.k. about eating as she did.
One afternoon, after riding the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty from afar, the country mouse and the city mouse found a chocolate shop and had the richest hot chocolate in the whole wide world. It was marvelous. The city mouse asked the clerk if the chocolate was fair trade. Alas, it was not. The country mouse feels bad about that and if she could remember what the company was she would never buy from them again (it is based in Walpole, NH, if that helps).
The country mouse is home now. Back to her cool, under-heated home, her car that she needs for most every errand, and her limited recycling. She hopes her city mouse friend can come visit so they can enjoy a quiet day, a dark night, and streets that are easily crossed. They can eat at the local farm to table restaurant, buy food at a farmer’s market or pick it from the garden if the season is right. It won’t be lox or calamari but it will be good.
And they can compare eco-friendly living in the city and country.