Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Fight to Save the Earth

I'm secretly a granola cruncher.  I'm not quite to the "weave my own clothing and french braid my armpit hair" level, but I do have some pretty strict food rules for myself, I'm a big recycling fan, and I despise plastic more than I can tell.  However, I don't want people to think I'm sitting around in Birkenstocks and dreaming about the shower I'll be able to take in a week's time, so I don't really broadcast this side of my sparkling personality.

Recently, I moved.  In this area, curbside pickup for recycling items is not the norm, so you have to take all of your goods to a recycling center.  I found the center closest to my home and was surprised to find that it was a little small in size and also packed with people.  I was also dumb enough to park my car next to the plastics recycling area and so my car was enveloped by the smell of rotten milk, but that is a story for another time.

I realized that if I am going to get prime placement of my recycled items, I was going to need to get to the recycling center early.  The bins were almost completely full.  I had to develop a game plan.  How could I best recycle massive amounts of cardboard, paper, glass and aluminum quickly without getting my car near the stinky part and while finding room to cram the items into the already full containers?

I developed a plan, and off I went to the recycling center.  I went at what I considered to be an early time, but I guess 11 a.m. is not early.  When I got there, there was only one other person besides myself.  Wonderful!  Not only did this bode well for emptying my car full of recyclables, but also fewer people would see me in my Saturday morning fashion crisis - sweats, air dryed hair, no makeup, and a...chilly...situation in the chest area.

I started to unload and found that the bins were really full again.  As in, almost completely full.  I was going to have to get creative about how I would get it all in.  Just as I put a bag filled with paper shreds from the shredder and was trying to dump it in without it blowing back out and in my face (those doors are taller than I am!), ten billion cars showed up to empty their recycling, too.  Now, the huge containers were really full.  Some of the doors were even locked.  I managed to find a spot in the paper bin that had a little room if I was creative, but how could I protect my spot and run back to my car to get more without someone stealing my area??

The occupants of the other cars eyed me with suspicion.  Was there any room for their recycling materials?  Why had I not parked in a spot like THEY all had?  You could cut the tension with a knife.  There was a palpable sense of a competition in the air.  I ran back to get a car load of goods, when someone swooped in and stole my spot!  I ran around to the other side and decided that if I threw the items hard enough, and high enough, I might be able to fling them into the far corners of the trash bin even though the door I was throwing through was packed to the ceiling full of junk mail and other paper goods.  I looked like a fool, leaping up and flinging boxes of Annie's mac and cheese into the corner of the bins.  But who cares how I looked?  I had a lot to recycle, and precious little space to dump my goods.  I threw the goods as if they were a discus and I was in the Olympics.  I also briefly wondered if I was throwing the trash and hitting the people on the other side of the bin, but sucks to be them!

Back at my car, I saw a spot open back up.  If I could get that spot, I'd be able to squeeze in those last packages of Perrier and a Newman's Own pizza box.  With a bead of sweat dripping down my back, I scoped out the competition.  The lady with the gloves on was going for my spot.  It was now or never.

Gritting my teeth, and grasping a paper towel roll to use as a weapon (in case of emergency, of course!), I sprinted to the last open place in the bin.  I shoved in my goods and internally gave a triumphant shout.

I'm just glad I didn't have to use that paper towel roll to defend my honor.  Don't make me get aggressive, people.  

Another day of fighting for the good of our planet.

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