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 this. I feel terribly, being a bad environmentalist. 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:
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.
I'M NOT MAKING ANY MORE HUMANS.
That's right. I'm almost forty. 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 kids. Go on, have another!
And it's not even a passive decision. I COULD have one if I wanted one. 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.