Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How Green Was My Uterus--Recycled by Kristy Kiernan

DISCLAIMER: This is a blog post that I wrote years ago. I've been a bit under the weather and, frankly, that makes me cranky. But I've been sitting here, dutifully, eagerly even, waiting for inspiration to strike, and the only thing that's striking me right now is the craving for a long, hot, environmentally irresponsible shower. Which made me remember this blog post. And since I'm pretty sure I wrote it while rather cranky (no it...I was quite clearly cranky), I thought it was appropriate. I'll be back to non-cranky originality soon.


I worry.

I do.

I worry about the environment. I am not immune. I'm not made of stone, people. I read the articles, I watch the news, I listen, intently, to celebrities like Jennifer Aniston tell me that my showers should take 3.2 seconds.

(Okay, as an aside on that one, you know why Jennifer Aniston can take 3.2 second showers? Because, unlike the average woman, she's had all the hair on her body lasered or waxed off, she has other people who dye [and therefore rinse] her hair for her, and has other various grooming procedures performed upon her by others in swanky spas rather than having to do it all herself in her freaking shower! She says she even manages to brush her teeth in the shower during that time. First of all, brushing your teeth in the shower is a stunning waste of water unless you're turning the shower completely off while you stand there, naked, dripping wet, and foaming at the mouth. Secondly, if you do everything you really need to do in the shower AND manage to brush your teeth in that short amount of time, well, I can assure you that something is suffering. I don't want to speculate on what that might be, but if I ever meet her I'm bringing along some extra Altoids and Summer's Eve. Wow, this kind of turned into a whole bash Jennifer Aniston thing, didn't it? Just to clarify, I really like Jennifer Aniston, I just don't buy the super short shower bit from any celeb [except perhaps Sting, because apparently he simply doesn't take them at all].)

Anyhoo, back to my environmental angst. So yeah, I worry about the things I'm doing to ruin our environment, and I beat myself up about the fact that the things I do to help are really pretty passive, though they're more than some people do.

First of all, I DO go through an astonishing number of little plastic bottles of Zephyrhills spring water. And don't tell me about how tap water tastes fine. Do you live in southwest Florida? No? Then shut it. If you do and you think this water tastes anything short of decidedly ass-like then you need to have your taste buds tested. (Another tip-off to being severely taste bud challenged: Do you think P.F. Chang's has great Asian food? Uh huh, that's what I thought.) So I go through a lot of the little bottles, which apparently really cheeses off one of my neighbors.

Now my neighbor hasn't actually confronted me on this little environmental horror-show of mine. I heard about it from another neighbor, who has her own environmental pet peeve (I don't know, something to do with fertilizer?). The thing is, I do at least recycle all the bottles. We have a giant, wheeled cart for recyclables that gets picked up every Wednesday, and anything that I recognize as recyclable goes right in, including the demon plastic water bottles. The cart is always full. Of course, I do know that if we ALL stopped buying the little bottles they'd stop making them and therefore the people who DON'T recycle them wouldn't have them to throw away and clog landfills and kill our planet and so forth. I get it.

Then there's the light bulb issue. I know I'm supposed to replace all my current light bulbs with the new Twistee-Treat ones. But, the thing is, my light bulbs aren't burning out! I fully intend to replace them, when they're no longer working. But it appears that I've gotten some sort of freakishly long-lasting light bulbs and ever since I knew I was supposed to replace them, not a single one has gone. I'm ready, I'm waiting, pzzzt damn you, pzzzt already!

And finally there's the laundry. I know I'm not supposed to wash anything in HOT anymore. The prevailing wisdom is that the energy used to heat the water to wash things on the hot cycle is wasted because things are perfectly fine and clean when washed in warm, and even cold. But I have a real issue with this. I AM washing my towels and sheets on Hot. I am. Bite me.

But, clearly, I feel defensive about all of this. I feel terrible, being a bad environmentalist and all. Drinking my water, not throwing out still-working light bulbs, washing stuff on Hot.

But then I realized something.

I had, yes, another epiphany. Wanna hear about it? Here it go:

So there I am the other day, standing in front of my washing machine, stuffing my sheets into its bleachy, steamy goodness and feeling pretty badly about myself as a human being, when it hits me (the epiphany, not the bleachy, steamy goodness):

I, in fact, am THE most environmentally friendly person I know. I am an ANGEL to our environment. I am considering putting myself up for the Ed Begley Jr. Award. I am a GODDESS! I want some recognition, dammit, some acknowledgement that I am doing THE most singularly generous thing for the health of our planet that I possibly can.


That's right. I'm almost forty-two. If I were gonna have kids, I'd have done it by now. I'm not having any. I'm not contributing to what the real problem is in our world...US. My righteous neighbors? Parents, all of 'em. Not of one, but of two, and three, and four kids. Go on, have another!

And it's not even a passive decision. I COULD have one if I wanted one (I think). I could have a whole passel. I could produce my own little nation of consumers if I wanted, but I am choosing not to. Oh, there are a lot of various reasons, but actually, yes, one of them is that I think we're over-populated.

So, hear this: I'm using the Hot cycle. And I'm going to drink my Zephyrhills. And I'll replace my bulbs when they die. And I don't want to hear a word about it. I'm not going to feel guilty. You have your kids, love them, enjoy them, make them into responsible humans. But don't even think about saying a word to me about my environmental choices.

Hey, I should get in touch with Jennifer Aniston, shouldn't I? She should feel okay about lengthening those showers; she doesn't have any kids either.

Kristy Kiernan lives in SW Florida. She is normally a ray of sunshine. Her latest book is BETWEEN FRIENDS, and you can hardly tell she's cranky at all when you read it.


Carrie said...

And this is why I love you...and need you to keep writing and sharing your wit and wisdom with us...

Tasha Alexander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tasha Alexander said...

Heh. Have I mentioned lately that I love you?

And that I, too, wash my sheets in nothing but hot water?

Editor @ the "Dew" said...

That's good stuff. I'm laughing my coffee out my nose reading it.

Go take a really hot shower, throw a water bottle at the neighbor.. or their kid.. and feel better about yourself! :)

JLC said...

Yes, well it's easy to get discouraged, I confess. Where I live, they recycle feebly, and they use Styrofoam all the time! Styrofoam! In spite of Jennifer, try to settle for each of us doing what we can...and hope some other people understand about overpopulation--it's too late for me.

Levi Montgomery said...

You want to wash stuff in hot water with my washer, you've got to reach down behind it and turn off the cold, 'cause all it's got on its environmentally friendly little dial is warm and cold (read "less than clean" and "even less than that").

But I do it, because it's a lot better than running it twice on one load.

Donna said...

I love it! And since I already have had children and now they are grown and in their own way are responsible for their piece of the world, I am back to washing my lovely white towels in hot water and staying in the shower as long as I want to and then some!

Tracey Ellis said...

Never fear, my inquiring mind must question Jennifer Aniston's showering habits. How many times a day does she shower? More than once or twice may explain things. Does she also soak for hours in a luxurious garden tub, letting all the troubles of the world escape her tired muscles? I think there may be more to this story than has been revealed to the public. How long does it take to set up this shower, the temperature, the spray adjustment, piling that hair up under a shower cap? Another question I have is if the whole single, 3.2 second shower is true, does that mean she only brushes her teeth once a day?