Soul Doubt: Better Late Than Never

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Better Late Than Never

Okay, I signed up for that "Blog Action Day" thing, the premise of which I understood to be showing one's eco-consciousness for that day, October 15th. Well, I did take action, I just am only now getting around to blogging about it. I'm slow sometimes, okay?

I've never been very good at the whole tree-hugging, eco-friendly, recycle each and every household item or go to hell thing. And to the best of my knowledge, in that respect I fit right in here in Cd'A, unfortunately. But after feeling that familiar tug of guilt when I read the call to arms posted on my Blogger Dashboard, I summoned up every ounce of goodwill toward the planet I had and vowed to do some greenie good that Monday, even if it killed me. And once I clicked on "yes, I'll participate", I knew I'd better follow through, else that little tug may turn into an all-expenses paid first class guilt trip.

Monday morning rolls around, and I'm sitting here at my desktop going through all my work emails and mentally compiling my "to-do" list for the day, and I realize I'm completely at a loss as far as my plans for an ecological coup. I mean, coming up totally blank (Not surprising when you consider that not even my thumb is green on the best of days- my husband is the one on whom even our houseplants rely). But after some serious calisthenics of my gray matter, I came up with a half-hearted plan, which although it may not count much in the grand scheme of things, I at least will know we're slowing our contribution to the eventual demise of Planet Earth.

My plan being two-part, I put part one into action by methodically stripping our house of every non-essential piece of cardboard, room by room, starting with my office. This may sound minor, but as mailing is a large part of what I do for a living, I end up with massive amounts of dismantled and yet-to-be-assembled box pieces, which I would formerly just fold into the outside trash and let the garbageman haul it away each Wednesday. Well, no longer will I fail to recycle these flattened brown tree corpses, no more will I cavalierly toss this pressboard forest away for landfill fodder. That very day I took my first cardboard-laden trip to the recycling depot at the school down the road, and will be taking as many more as quantity of said cardboard on hand dictates. So there.

Moving on to part two. This one being a little more complicated, it needed finessed. You see, my mother's household produces exorbitant amounts of aluminum cans, of both the beer and soda persuasion (although mostly the former), and I knew for a fact that nobody ever felt the slightest urge to recycle them. If I were to bring up the good it would do the environment, that would fall on deaf ears, sadly enough. There would be retaliatory arguments, and it just may get messy. So I couldn't go there. I considered proposing the financial angle ("Mom, just think of all the money you'll be getting back for every load of cans you take in to the center, for cans you'd normally just be throwing away!") but realized her response would be that it would cost more in gas to drive all the way there and back than the load of cans would be worth. Let alone what a pain it would be to have bags and bags of cans cluttering up the back porch or garage, remembering to throw the aluminum away seperately.... yep, this was gonna be tricky to persuade her, alright.

I finally settled on an old standby; one that I'd used often over the years, which relied on those old parental responsibilities of hers to kick in and bail me out of trouble. So a little subterfuge was being used- hey, it's for a good cause, right? I first went to the Wal and bought a massive Rubbermaid trash barrel, wheeled and handled and lock-lidded. The works. This was installed, with little fanfare, (not surprising as it was just me, Jameson, and their two dogs looking on) in the cramped corner of the back porch. Next I unloaded a smaller tall kitchen can which I'd had in my laundry room, and stationed it behind their inside kitchen trash, finalizing the whole deal by lining it with a bag and fishing out all the empties I could find from the regular garbage and putting them in the new one. Now all I had to do was wait for her to get home from work and notice the new additions. I quickly left and headed back to my house, knowing my phone would be ringing shortly.

And of course it did. "Kendra, what the hell is this? I come home and not only do I find a small dumpster on my back porch, I also see there's another garbage in my kitchen, as if the one I had wasn't enough I need two? This has your name written all over it. It better be good, too," she lit into me.
"Mom, check it out," I started. "You know my blog I've been telling you about? Well, they were doing this thing, like for the environment? And I kinda committed to helping out and then there wasn't anything I could really do except recycle, and you know Tony and I don't really go through cans or anything, but you guys do, so I just thought maybe please please please you wouldn't mind just throwing your cans into the new trash for awhile? I promise I'll take care of everything else, taking them to the center and all that, all you have to do is use the stuff. Please? Just try it for a month. I'm scared if I don't put down that I did what I said I was gonna do that they might cancel my blog and I really like what I got set up so please Mom, would you just give it a try?" Whew. After I got all that out, I waited.
Fingers crossed, just like in the old days.
I heard her sigh, could almost see her shaking her head the way she does when she's exasperated with me. "When are you going to stop getting yourself into these little last-minute jams?" she asked. "You're over thirty years old! So more importantly, when are you gonna stop involving me?"
"But will you do it? Please, Mom...?"
"I guess. Don't really have a choice, now, do I?"
I assured her she was the greatest mom who'd ever lived, that I would never put her in this awful position again, and she'd see, I'd make it up to her, I really would. Then I hung up the phone and sat there, feeling pleased with myself, sure that Mom would eventually come around, and knowing that in my own little way I was doing some roundabout good. For the environment, for my family, for the future. Is that corny or what? Damn, I'm getting soft!


  1. Way to go on following through with your green good intentions! I'm particularly susceptible to the guilt trip, too (especially the ones I lay on myself!) and your post has utterly convinced me that I need to start recycling the gazillion Diet Coke cans that go through our apartment every week! You made it sound so easy. :)

    Have a great Monday!

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