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Cognitive Dissonance, Jumping the Shark, In Search of "the Nephew," Farm Burger, and the Possible Return of Zippy

Posted Sep 23 2012 8:05am
So I got tipped off to the Atlanta Home Show at an expansive convention space and the fact that I could get in free if I showed up before 9 AM and said the code word "reliable."  I got no-takers on the "join me" offer for teen reporters (remember their raves about the potato toilet ?), so off I trotted, only to discover I was suddenly the youngest audience member of the Walter Reeves Live Radio Show, where on-the-air breaks got peppered with trivia questions to which everyone but me seemed to know the answers because they actually lived the moments.  I realized then that even though I am technically the tail end of the Baby Boomers, I am far less "Where were you when John F. Kennedy got shot?" and far more "Where were you when John Lennon got shot?"  I am far less Kent State and far more Courtship of Eddie's Father (and please note I am younger than Jody Foster, who guest starred on the show as "Joey down the hall," pictured above, so references to Vietnam and bra-burning just don't hit home for me).  I am far less drugs, sex, and rock and roll and far more disco roller skating (this detail mortifies my kids when I talk about it, which is sort of often--gosh, my friend Kathy Lynott and I had ridiculous amounts of fun at Laces in New Hyde Park, NY--thanks, Kathy).

Anyway, the yellow police tape went down and we were sprung from the radio show (Walter Reeves did a very nice job, by the way, but what was up with the Scott's Miracle Gro guest, and I'm not talking about all his heavy chemical gardening recommendations but the offhand mention that he actually lives in Serenbe, arguably one of the most eco communities in the U.S.! Am still feeling cognitive dissonance from this). I took a quick glance around the room and didn't see any overtly "green" products or services at first (although it's a nice surprise to finally be seeing more recycling containers but there's still no place to compost a banana peel ).  I got to thinking that, perhaps, green has "jumped the shark" (which is a commonly-used term to mean that it has passed the point of "desperate attempt to hang on," and which comes from a pathetic late-season episode of Happy Days--and there are those of us who remember exactly where we were when Fonzie jumped the shark).

But no. There were still the requisite solar companies and green foam insulation folks. A green basement remodeler. A lighting company repping LED outdoor lights ("they've finally gotten better--less blue!" the sales guy told me).  A non-profit operation that repurposes excess building materials (sort of like the Habitat for Humanity Restore). And a few flooring companies with eco-offerings.  I was also happy to see a few "aging in place" choices (my prediction--those walk-in-tubs are going to be a boom product in the coming years--and get a load of that other tub in the collage below--it looks like a recliner!  What's not to love?)  And, if you want to know the truth, eco-benefits such as saving energy/saving money just seem to be a bit more par for the course now, so that's good. (I wrote a green-leaning home-focused blog for Cox Enterprise's Kudzu named Hot Off the Vine with Pattie Baker for a year--here is a link to my post with my favorites ). (I also write Design for Boomers , which gives voice to those on the cusp of two generations at a time of enormous innovation potential in the marketplace as Boomers change life stages and eco-options become mainstream.)

My favorite booth of the day comes with a couple of caveats.  It was for a company named Cornerstone, Inc. and it featured what appeared to be reclaimed wood from a wide variety of old barns and more.  I say "appeared to be" because there was absolutely no explanatory signage, website address, or anything besides the company name (which doesn't come up as a direct hit when you search for it), and no one was there the first three times I made special trips back to try to find someone with whom to talk.  Finally, a man from the next booth ( a basic flooring company) popped over and told me it was his nephew's line of business and that it was prohibitively expensive and really only applicable to commercial projects like restaurants, not really for a little kitchen remodel.  Um, okay, now that you've made assumptions about me (which are wrong--I am not remodeling a kitchen; I am giving free shout-outs to impressive businesses on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and elsewhere, and uncovering story ideas to pitch to national media outlets) and never once asked a question as to why I might be interested, well, off I went and called it a day at the show. I decided to give the nephew the benefit of the doubt (who knows why he wasn't there) because, my goodness, that booth was extraordinary.  Seriously touchable products expertly displayed.  Love it.  Don't love the marketing of it. (Shout-out to the nephew--need help?  Let's talk .)

So on the way home, thoughts of restaurants with reclaimed wood on my mind, I stopped by the new location of Farm Burger, my fave restaurant (and I'm a vegetarian, so this is saying a lot considering the whole premise of the restaurant is to feature grass-fed beef--but they also feature local veggies and amazing quinoa burgers).  Remember Jason ?  Remember the pig video ?  Remember the Urban Farm article ?  Remember how I encouraged my city to pursue companies like this when we lost the first expansion of Farm Burger to another part of metro-Atlanta? Every time I go to Farm Burger Decatur, where the original restaurant is located, I think how nice it would be to be walking distance from that place. And now, a new location is opening, shockingly, in my city.  I still can't believe it.  I slipped passed the "closed" sign, met one of Jason's partners, Sean, and the new chef, Todd, snapped these pix and counted my lucky stars.  Farm Burger Dunwoody opens next Thursday.  Miracles do happen.

And as I padded across my old, linoleum kitchen floor this morning (maybe one day I actually will put reclaimed wood flooring in there), I remembered again those beginning unicycle days as I first tried to balance leaning against the kitchen island, and the fact that Danielle (my new unicycling friend) wants to unicycle together (although I haven't ridden mine since the blue foamy resurfacing of the high school track and the "no wheels allowed" sign went up), and I realized, you know what? If there is a Farm Burger in Dunwoody, anything is possible.  Maybe I will dust off ole' Zippy again! (I can already hear the "Oh, no!" of my family members--if they are not careful, I may pull out the disco skates again!)

Danielle, by the way, went on a business trip to NYC recently and discovered the colleague with whom she was meeting unicycles also--so off they went to the East River.  You just never know where the journey is going to take you, do you?

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