Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An Open Letter To The Guy At Holiday Market Last Night

Dear Guy,

Last night at Holiday Market, I saw that you brought in your own canvas tote bag to purchase groceries. On behalf of Mother Nature, I'd like to say thanks! Bringing your own bag to the store helps offset the footprint you're making on the world. You are really pointing out that the best possible choice in the "paper or plastic" debate is "neither".

Plastic grocery bags, when they become litter, can take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. As they do, they leave little bits of toxic remnants in the soil and water.

Additionally, plastic bags drift far out into the ocean, where they strangle and poison wildlife. Seabirds and turtles mistake them for jellyfish and eat them, which can kill them in a variety of ways, none of them pleasant.

There is also the fact they are created from petroleum, a resource we are steadily depleting.

Although it's easy to villify plastic bags, we can't let paper get off scott-free. Paper bags are created from a renewable resource, but are not necessarily "greener". The production of paper bags creates more pollution than plastic. It also requires more energy and water, and takes up a lot more space in a landfill (although it will break down quicker).

So, grocery guy, by bringing your own bag to the store, you're doing a small part to reduce environmental stress, and it's something we can learn from. Every little bit helps, and if we all do this, things would be in a much cleaner state. I thank you for pointing this out, and the turtles thank you as well.


The fact that you are enacting and spreading this small bit of environmental awareness does nothing at all to offset the fact that you drove to the grocery store in a 10-mpg Hummer.

Go to hell, you self-righteous yuppie asshole. I hope you break an ankle hopping down from your high horse. People like you are the reason my generation has such a beef with the baby boomers.

Thanks again.


Jennifer said...

I fucking hate us, too. I hate us so much, that sometimes I spend hours googling "baby boomer boundaries" hoping to find just one source that exonorates those of us born in 1962.

You know what I really hate? I hate that I HAVE canvas bags and half the time, FAIL to use them. I try to make up for it by driving a stupid hybrid vehicle whose battery production probably kills polar bears and the infant children of professional hockey players. I also try to make up for the obnoxiousness of my kind by telling Myrtle that she should dismiss this silly notion of using cloth diapers when she finally has baby #2 (she's not pregnant). "Do you know how much pollution laundry causes," I scream. Then I fess up that it's really just a lot of work.

In my Fantasy of the Future, Landfill Miners are the most highly paid and deeply respected laborers on the planet. They recover all things not biodegradable and sell them for huge sums of money. I tell myself this every time I throw a cigarette butt-filled diet Coke can into the waste basket because I'm too lazy to clean it out and return it for the deposit.

When I think of all of the information I fail to use toward the good of the planet, I think it would serve me right if some canvas bag-toting pompous asshole in a Hummer backed over me at SAMS Club.

Holiday is the cool one with more gourmet-type eats closer to 10 Mile, right, and Hollywood is the boringer one at the corner of Catalpa? I used to walk to the boring one from our house on Maplegrove. I carried my groceries home in canvas bags I bought at the Kroger on Woodward and ... 12 or 13 Mile? It's why I was so skinny back then. That, and, you know, they sold some fairly boring stuff, like 2% and iceberg lettuce and balloon bread. Crappiest olive selection in the midwest. How could I ever have shopped there???

Okay, thank you for putting up with me, off to be nervous elsewhere for a while...

Wisteria said...

Though I would never think of driving a Hummer (a yellow diesel beetle running vegetable oil is my car of choice), I have incongruities in my sustainability plan. I sometimes forget my totes, crave fine paper, buy water in a plastic bottle when pushed, buy far too many books when I could use the library more, own and use power sucking electronics, drive my daughter 150 miles round trip twice a week for ballet, and use an air conditioner in the kitchen and my office when the temperatures are over 95°. I'm hoping that when my green purchases, my sacrifices, and my sustainable contributions are tallied that my footprint is smaller than it used to be. Yet, to think that someone is judging my efforts gives me the shivers.

I promise to do better.

Anonymous said...


As a card-carrying Baby Boomer, I hope you know that I'm NOT trying to explain away the asshole in the Hummer. Far from it. But the reality is very simply this: 10, 15, 20 years from now you WILL have a different view of the world. What that view is will, of course, be shaped by many things both large and small, some so seemingly insignificant that they didn't even register on your conscious mind.

10, 15, even 20 years hence, you will be a different person and your view of the world will have changed accordingly.

That doesn't explain away the guy in the Hummer. But I hope you begin to see that some of us ass-wipe Baby Boomers might once have stood in the marketplace condemning the generation before us to hell for their choices... only to find ourselves now making some equally bizarre or morally reprehensible choices of our own. Sometimes those choices are made for reasons that are painfully apparent to all. Other times, however, there are reasons - reasons that you and I and the rest of the world can't see - for the choices that are made by those around us.

I think it would be interesting to hear *why* he drives a Hummer, and yet takes his canvas totes to the market. There might be a greater story there than you realize...

Look back 10, 15, 20 years ago. Have you changed?

I have. Not always for the better, but I have. And I hope and pray every day that I have another 10, 15, or 20 years to continue my evolution from mere Baby Boomer to complete human.

With love...

Old Auntie Thim :)

ron st.amant said...

Ooo...his carbon footpring is like a T-Rex

Angeline Rose Larimer said...

I drive a hybrid SUV.
Thought about downsizing last week, then Tom reminded me it's the vehicle we use to travel with two kids, two dogs, a cat (and now a rabbit).
Might even have to put a hitch on it someday to lug the ponies, should there be an invasion and we have to head west, or whatever.
We use the SUV to haul feed and sawdust for the ponies who are busy eating down the grass and pooping out my fertilizer for the future veggie garden.
I also use it to stock up on two week's worth of groceries and supplies.
I've put about 8,000 miles on my car in the last year.
It gets similar mileage to most other cars people drive thinking they're driving something more fuel efficient than an SUV.
People who drive 10 times more a week than I do should consider their commutes. Who ultimately uses more gasoline in a given year?
Not me.
It's not just the size of the car, but how much driving is being done.

I've taken some shit from folks on this issue. One Target shopper in an old jalopy fingered my car, "GAS HOG."
Bigger cars with children is where I changed over the years.
I used to love my Geo Metro.
Then Hummers and super trucks took to the highways, and safety was my biggest requirement.
Even if Hummers began running on plastic bags, zero emissions or waste, they'd still be the monstrosities on the road that can smoosh a metro into a guard rail, one bad choice casualty of mascara application at 70mph.

Sense of responsibility seems fleeting these days. 'Too much work and nobody else is trying as hard as me,' so fookit.
We can do more (us Pumpkinshellers) but I'm going to need a farm truck to do so.
And someone needs to invent fold up canvas cart liners, because there ain't no way I can fit all my groceries into one canvas tote bag. I'd have to drive to the store every day.

Keep stirring it up, my brother, and pass the bong.
No bongs allowed any more?

fineartist said...

Canvas cart liners, you go girl.