Remember that old bat of a lady who dressed in bad, loud polyester and had no apparent kids yet was always crusading for something on behalf of kids or schools or something? I think I’ve become that lady.
My latest thing tilting at windmills episode revolves around the grocery store. I’ve always hated those stupid plastic bags that everyone puts all of their produce into. Get one baking potato, put it in a plastic bag. What’s up with that? Anyhow, when we were in Europe this summer, I was amazed by how people act in grocery stores (you should ALWAYS go to a grocery store whenever you visit a new country). They don’t use bags for ANYTHING. All of the stuff goes into the cart, then onto the checkout belt, then either into a reusable bag or into one of those wire carts with the wheels. Only things that are bought in bulk, like nuts or rice, go into a plastic bag. Where an American shopper would have maybe 10 plastic bags per $100 of groceries, these people would have 1 or 2. And you think about it, and it makes a huge difference when you consider that there are like 120 million grocery shopping trips made in the country per week. 8 fewer plastic bags per trip, at 1 gram per bag, is 1056 tons of plastic bags per week. 55000 tons of plastic bags per year. Not exactly ending our dependence on foreign oil or emptying the landfills, but a pretty good start for a change that’s essentially an un-noticeable inconvenience after a short time. Anyhow, when you bring a half dozen oranges to the check out belt in the grocery store without a plastic bag around them, you get looks like you’re a freaking kid toucher. Doesn’t make sense. By the way, I’ve forgotten to bring our reusable bags like the last four times, so I’m really in a glass house a little bit on this one.
The big problem with the absolute cessation of plastic bag use is dog poop. What are we going to do with all the dog poop if no plastic bags? Here you have one of the great all time compostable materials (or if you are my in-laws dog, delicious materials) being put into one of the world’s least compostable materials. But when you are walking the dog, you really like the plastic bag. Especially when senor doggie goes for round two and you only have one bag, so you have to do the on the fly diaper genie/balloon animal twist and flip to pick up round two. So the moral of the story is that someone has to come up with an essentially completely recyclable product that serves second duty (no pun intended) as a pooper scooper and keeps would be treehuggers from cowering at the arched eyebrows of the grocery checkout people of the world.
I also rode my bike yesterday, including a half hour of sub-threshold work. Some day, my sub threshold will be higher than my current threshold and I will think back and say “man, what a freaking sally I was.” The first time I tested my threshold, it was lower than the 30 minute interval I did yesterday. Man, what a freaking sally I was.
Maybe I will go have a bake sale to raise money for a good cause.