I remember being young and how mad my mama used to get on those really hot or cold days when we used to stand in the doorway and talk to our friends. Or, even worse, stare into the fridge forever like there was really a lot to choose from anyway. She used to holla, “I ain’t trying to heat or cool the outside. Close that door”. In the summer sometimes the cool of the fridge or the freezer was the only escape we had from having one fan that only moved the heat around and cooked us like a convection oven. But we didn’t dare say that to mama. There were just some things we knew not to complain about.
Although we didn’t really know the weight of responsibilities our parents faced in trying to clothe and feed us and how close we came on any given month to not even having any power on, we knew that life was a little less stressful for mama when we didn’t hang in doorways. When we made decisions to either be in or out. I have had so many reasons in my life lately to think about that time in my childhood and how much we really don’t stop to consider the energy it costs someone when we stand in the doorway of decisions letting out the cool to the summer heat or the warm to the winter cold not realizing the bill we are running up in the home, heart, and mind of someone else who has to pay it.
As a result of that upbringing, I am the kind of person who naturally turns out lights in unused rooms even when visiting others who can well afford the high bill. It just isn’t in me to waste. But that discipline didn’t come easy. There was a time when mama had to make her point. When we just ran in and out and didn’t really get it. So she filled up a few jugs with water and sat them outside the apartment door with two plastic cups and a roll of toilet paper and wouldn’t let us in until she called us for dinner. We sat on the second story landing for lunch which she sat outside as well. After a few weeks of trips to the nearest thicket of trees behind the apartments to use the bathroom whenever we couldn’t go to a friend’s house, we got the message. When you grow up and you the one paying the bills, it’s easy to overlook that you are also the one standing in the doorway wasting energy on decisions that need to be made. It doesn’t matter who needs to make the decision, but that the door needs to close. If someone is not coming in, and you don’t see yourself going anywhere with them, then you are choosing to waste the energy of your life. Every once in a while, it is good to check the energy efficiency of your relationships. -Neo Blaqness