"Oh my God. Is this going to be my life forever? It's like we go to the environmental store and what's there is still not good enough."
The following is a quote from my poor, beleaguered boyfriend. Who has to put up with me and my eco-insanity more than anyone else.
In most cases, my boyfriend approaches my eco-nuttiness with good humor. And honestly, we live in San Francisco, where many aspects of my eco-ness are par for the course. My boyfriend already used reusable bags when he went grocery shopping. Everyone in the city composts because it is mandated by law. Most people I know here buy organic.
So, in a lot of cases, he goes along with my crusade. Sometimes willingly, sometimes rolling his eyes. He doesn't bat an eyelash about buying organic milk. He religiously composts and knows all the rules. And he even calls me on my eco-sins. Like the time he reminded me that if I don't get out of bed in time, he has to drive me to the train station, and the car isn't meant for those walkable journeys.
But in other cases, my choices do definitely cause him some frustration. He misses the Pantene. He likes having an emergency stash of paper towels. He can't believe it when I tell him that only one mattress at the eco-mattress store is eco enough.
The other day we were watching the No Impact Man movie, and I couldn't help but watch the whole thing from his eyes. Of course, I knew a ton about their project, I had followed along on the blog, and I've read Colin's wife's writing about the subject. So, I knew how the whole project had been an evolution for her from a somewhat unwilling participant to an active, involved, collaborator. But a whole lot of the movie seemed to focus on the unwilling participant part, probably because it provided some drama. So it felt a lot like she was being dragged along through this torturous project and that she had very little say in the matter. As I watched my boyfriend cringe when Michelle's toilet paper was taken away from her, I wondered, "Where's the balance?"
I started my eco-nutty phase when I was living alone. This had its own struggles, but, by and large, it made things simpler. I did what I wanted. If I wanted to not use toilet paper or paper towels? It didn't affect anyone else. But now, every choice I make, whether it's to use vinegar as a cleaning solution or to turn off the air-dry on the dishwasher, affects someone else.<
And while I think some of the changes are fair and justified, like say eating all organic, sometimes they are perhaps a little overzealous and unnecessary. When my boyfriend convinced me to buy a roll of paper towels, we bought an unbleached, 100% recycled roll that lasted us three months. I guess I can agree to buy four rolls of recycled paper towels a year.
I guess like all things, this is about finding the happy medium. Because after all, there's no point "saving the world" if everyone gets so pissed off at you that you have no one to share your world with.
4 weeks ago