An Interview with Max Kanter, My Pretty Good Friend and Well Known Activist
Max Kanter is my good friend and confidant. Although, sometimes he can’t be trusted with sensitive information. But, we agreed that he didn’t know what I was saying was off-the-record. And so, he remains a friend. Max is an advocate for our trees, forests, rivers, lakes, and metro systems. He is a true environmentalist, a civil engineer, a city planner & urban dreamer, a young visionary. He works for the noble Food Forward organization, helping to glean surplus fruit from your backyard orange grove and transport it to the hungry and needy of Los Angeles.
I sat down with Max one morning over Google Chat and a latte and a farm fresh scone. I also had some raspberries and a Greek yogurt. It was a really great breakfast. But it was a memorable morning for other reasons. Please enjoy the transcript of our edifying chat:
Lani: Hi Max! I’m so excited to be interviewing you for my dying website.
Max: Don’t say that, Lani. Nothing’s dead that can’t be reincarnated.
Lani: Do you really believe in that?
Max: I believe in a lot of things that Western society looks down upon or sees as somehow unrefined and primitive.
Lani: Like blogging?
Max: No. Not like blogging.
Lani: Fine. Let’s talk about your endeavor to change the city of Los Angeles into a bike-friendly metropolis.
Max: I wish I were doing more to make LA into a bike friendly city. I ride my bike all the time, I wave to drivers, I shake their hands, I hand roses to passing cyclists. I blow kisses to rollerbladers, I bless bicycles as they pass, I provide water bottles to youth on bikes during late summer heat waves. I once made out with a man on an Elipti-Go, just to show him how much I support alternative low-energy use vehicles.
Lani: I think you gave me a high-five once when I walked past you.
Max: Exactly. I truly believe it’s kind gestures like these that will bring the multimodal communities in Los Angeles together to make it a bike friendly place.
Lani: I admire your passion, Max.
Max: I’m a passionate person.
Lani: At least, you have a lot of zeal for the things you believe in.
Max: That’s what passion is, Lani.
Lani: No need to get all pedantic, Max.
Max: I’m sorry, Lani.
Lani: That’s okay.
Max: Should we talk about you, now?
Lani: No, Max! This is an interYOU. I am interviewing YOU. I want to know all about YOU.
Max: I was born in Scottsdale, AZ to two loving parents. Through my youth, I enjoyed musical theater, spectator sports, musical theater, tutoring my younger brother in algebra and Sondheim, skiing, mountain-biking, practicing the lost art of letter writing—
Lani: OK, Max. The people don’t need to hear everything.
Max: I just think the people might want some context for what drove me to become an activist.
Lani: Okay, proceed.
Max: At some point, say between the time I was 5 and 21, I discovered that my purpose in life was to bring joy to others. And what better way to do that than to reduce our collective carbon footprint, lobby the government to have a smarter energy policy, follow environmentally conscious celebrities on twitter, and ride my bike to the local farmer’s market on Sundays for freshly pressed Rainbow chard juice & roma tomatoes (when in season).
Lani: But sometimes, it’s like, what can I really do? I’m just one person. And I’m one person who happens to enjoy plastics a lot! The convenience of plastic is unparalleled.
Max: I wouldn’t know. I’ve been living plastics-free since 1998.
Lani: So Ziplocks…
Lani: To-go containers?
Max: Definitely not.
Lani: Pool toys?
Max: It’s like you’ve never heard of bio-organic material, Lani. It’s so versatile!
Max: Did you know people used to heal cuts and lesions with extracts of lavendar oil?
Lani: You are really something, Max. In my day all activism required was the weekly trip to the soup kitchen. Now, it’s all about how you live your life–everyday!
Max: Indeed. You’ve just nailed the essence of grassroots activism. You hit the nail on the head of what’s essential and important to grassroots activists. The truth is, you’ve really unlocked the key to what it means to be grassroots, actively.
Lani: You say social activism starts at home, but what if you don’t have a home?
Max: Then you build one with raw materials and eco-friendly art supplies, and power it with solar power you harness from your stationary bike, like the actor Ed Begley, Jr does at his private estate.
Lani: But we can’t all be Ed Begley, Jr.’s. He’s like 7 feet tall!
Max: The point is, Lan, in whatever I do, I think how I can look taller while doing it. Which is a metaphor for being our true selves, but being our best true selves. By which, I mean, if we just expend a little bit more consciousness in our daily lives, we might make the world a better place.
Lani: Like if I think for a moment before I take the third paper towel in the ladies’ room?
Max: It takes you three paper towels to dry your hands?
Lani: Lastly, Max, what do you think of this song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyiNc1JvjyQ
Max: I can’t open the link.
Lani: Try copy and pasting?
Max: Yeah, it still won’t open.
Max: Yeah, this is rather disappointing.
Max: Max Kanter is currently signed off from Google Talk, and can’t receive your IMs.
For anyone interested, and still reading, please contact Max at firstname.lastname@example.org.