On Friday I drove to Bretton Woods to interview Bode Miller. Bode comes off pretty much exactly as you’d expect: Surly and distracted, as if I were just another in a long line of journalists trying to get their piece of him and delaying the onset of cocktail hour. Which, come to think of it, I was.
Bode was at Bretton Woods for BodeFest. I’m not sure how Bode feels about it, but the day someone attaches the word “fest” to my name is the day I go fully underground.
Anyway. Turns out Bode’s on something of a green kick these days. There’s the new house at Bretton Woods, with geothermal heat and solar power. When I asked Bode if he meant solar photovoltaics or solar hot water, he looked at me blankly.
“Or maybe both,” I asked. (Why, oh why did I let him off the hook? Christ, he was almost squirming)
“Yeah, both,” he said.
I asked him how many kilowatts of solar pv. He didn’t know.
And then there's his new project, the purpose of which is “supporting health, diversity and sustainable living.” I asked him to expound on that mission statement. He said something about local agriculture. “I’ve gotta do something,” he said. “I mean, I’ve got five cars and two of them have V8’s.” He almost smiled.
Well, bully for Bode. I mean, this is all good stuff. And certainly I can relate to the contradictory themes that run through his life. But it all seems emblematic of our larger reluctance to truly face our demons. Like Bode, we’re still stuck in the collective thinking that we can buy and bargain the blood off our hands, without making any truly hard decisions.
It ain’t gonna be that easy. And the sooner we face that reality, the less hardship we’ll ultimately have to face.
I asked Bode if he buys carbon offsets for all his globetrotting. “No,” he said, “but I probably should.” Actually, Bode, that’s not even the beginning.