Tuesday, January 1, 2008

#*&%- Violations 1&2

Well, I'm sad to say that JaLeDiMo has not started off fortuitously. Violation #1 occurred at approximately 6:30 pm in the ladies room of a restaurant. I used the facilities, thanked God that my stipulations allow me to use toilet paper when not at home, got out, washed my hands, and absent-mindedly grabbed a paper towel to dry my hands. It was not until I threw the paper towel away that I remembered that I'm not allowed paper towels anymore.

AUGH. I mentally berated myself, and then tried to put it behind me, and enjoy my dinner. It takes time to re-adjust. Now that I've made this mistake, I won't make it again. Or so I told myself.

And then? Just a few hours later, came Violation #2. I was on an airplane and, again without thinking too much, I ordered a Diet Coke. Which honestly, I shouldn't have done, because drinks come in plastic disposable cups, but at least plastic cups are not on the list of explicitly banned items. BUT, napkins ARE on that list, and guess what the flight attendant handed me when she handed me my plastic cup of chemicals-that-are-going-to kill-me? Yup, a napkin. And did I hand it back to her and tell her I didn't need it? No, I did not, because it didn't even occur to me that she was handing me a napkin. Not even for a second did it cross my EXTREMELY SLOW mind. It wasn't until the flight attendant came back to take the trash, and I handed her the cup and napkin that I HADN'T EVEN USED, that I suddenly realized with horror that I had just taken a napkin, and proceeded to throw it away.

And then the plane hit some turbulence and I thought morosely, "Great, I'm going to die. And my last act will have been to Throw Away a Napkin. Excellent."

Luckily, I did not die. Instead, I am alive, and feeling fairly guilty about my multiple violations in one day. I do think though that it shows how deeply ingrained this "culture of disposability" is for many of us. It simply does not occur to most of us to think about what we throw away and where it goes. I hope with this challenge this month to permanently change my mindset. So even when I do throw things away, I won't do so mindlessly.


Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to you to STOP FLYING? One flight is probably the carbon footprint equivalent of a whole year of WhThFuMo challenging. (I finally figured out how you got your weird names, and now I'm being clever with it.) Sorry if I seem smarmy, as it is not my intention.

ruchi said...

You're absolutely right, Amelia. I do fly a lot. The short answer is that I buy carbon offsets to offset the carbon emissions of the flights I take. The long answer is more complicated and probably deserves a post on its own which I'll try to get to soon.