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I am a dedicated recycler. Anything and everything can be used again … and ought to be. I furnished the cabin with things from the pawn shop, and when Odds and Ends was still in business, I traded sofas once a year.

In order to be an effective recycler, one has to choose lightly used things, but that’s no problem in a society that dotes on obsolescence. Used books, even those that are underlined and with notes are usable, though not as desirable if you want to savor language rather than read only the underlined sentences in order to finish quickly. It’s a little like reading someone’s crib notes. You get the essence, but not the details and any teacher worthy of flunking you knows enough to ask about the details.

Some clothes are all right the second time around, but more appealing in a large city where you are less likely to run into the first owner at a dinner party who exclaims, “Isn’t that my dress?” In a large city, no one says that on a street car or bus, or even at the corner store: they expect that there’s another copy of their clothing.

It is not that everything can be recycled. I don’t recommend wearing someone else’s shoes. Shoes assume not only your personality, but the shape of your foot, bunions and all. I realize that those young women who wear really high pumps look like they must be wearing someone else’s shoes as they wobble from one place to another, but they still have some influence on wearing down the heels in a certain manner unrelated to someone else’s feet.

I don’t recommend recycling medications either, though I understand that some people do and that’s why you are supposed to take them to the police station instead. I often wondered what would happen if someone took my blood pressure pills. Would they stop being angry or demand pacifiers, or whatever they call meds that make you passive?

Though I am inclined to take extra canned goods and packaged food to the food bank, I act as though I’m saving up the refrigerator food to recycle. I just can’t throw out food unless it is green with mold. those starving people in Africa that Mother always told me would put a curse on me if I didn’t clean my plate Perhaps, as my retired doctor friend suggests, it is because I wish to grow my own penicillin, but I think it has more to do with all.

I also believe, in spite of experience, that I shall have leftovers until the leftovers are gone. Then I discovered that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of calories in the food and its age. There are more calories in leftovers simply because they have assimilated the food benefits from the other leftovers in the refrigerator. Or maybe it’s the mold. Whatever it is, we cannot throw out food until it acquires a certain disgusting color and texture.

On the other hand, it would not be proper to try to give it to someone else. My sons believes that I do so, but it is an accident if the milk is sour and I invited him to have milk and cookies, and that’s why he rudely smells the milk before pouring a glass. It’s one thing to appreciate the fumes of food from a distance, but quite another to hold it under your nose and sniff.

I wonder if my hula hoop can be put to use by someone? I can’t seem to find the #1 triangle mark on it and that means it can’t go in the public recycle bin. It won’t fit through the slot anyway, so does anyone want it? I can offer a bonus (a yard sign with a donkey on it) if you take both of them. It’s history.

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