I’ve spent so much energy culling, recycling, reducing, reusing, rethinking… that it now takes less energy to use less. Twenty years ago, every trip to a store involved a mini-sermon (upon request) after assuring the cashier that I was indeed sure I didn’t want a bag and why. My favorite response was, “Oh! You are saving the planet! That’s sweet.” It’s pretty stunning how many grown people think I MUST be joking when I say, “No bag, please.”
“Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?” I answered that question over a thousand times. What the hell? I knew green was no longer “out” (I can’t say it is really “in”) when the cashiers stopped asking me if I am “sure.” Or maybe, after the 2364th time that I answered, “Yes, I am sure,” they decided I am indeed sure. Or maybe I finally look old enough to either be aware what insane bs exits my lips and/or not care about said exiting bs. I do know that my poor kids were constantly assured that their mom couldn’t have possibly meant “no bags” and they had to come to the car holding a forbidden bag. A few times, I took the bag back to the cashier to validate the attempted assertion of my kids.
At the local store, part of new employee training is informing baggers and cashiers to never give me a plastic bag. They are probably told not to roll their eyes when I have nine apples and no bag. One day at this store, the cashier was looking up the code for bean sprouts. I had it memorized and told her. “You should work here,” the cashier suggested. “I wouldn’t allow anyone to have a plastic bag. It’d drive me nuts.”
Stuff like that usta drive me nuts. It literally kept me up at night. But as I replied to the “How sweet!” comment, “Single-handedly saving the planet isn’t working out so well.” Earth was here before our polluting, trashing asses and will continue with or without us. I can’t make a difference, but I can make it a teeny bit less polluted and trashed. I stopped trying to proselytize a long time ago. A friend and coworker helped my crystallize my passionate indifference. This friend told me, “I thought about you while I was throwing away a can.” I realized that’s more than I should hope for–that someone will think about me while she trashes the planet. I laughed and resigned.
I have not gotten a plastic bag in over 22 years (I started the day after Darion’s first birthday). I’ve never bought ziplock or trash bags. I think life is better and easier my way. It’s kinda nuts that I am considered nuts for not wanting to be part of the trash fest. But whatever. I resigned long ago and have since learned a few people have thought of me and RECYCLED a can. I don’t have Saving-the-Planet bagged, but I also don’t have my groceries bagged. And while I am not a strong influence for good, my nagging example has made the planet a tiny less trashed.