Wednesday, September 5, 2007
This disposable American life.
Have you seen these yet?
If you haven't- they are basically zip-style bags designed to be used in the microwave for steaming food (I think they're vented or something).
Thank jeebus almighty that we finally have reason to stop actually using that fancy stainless-steel cookware that Aunt Gert spent $600 on for our wedding gift. How relieved are we that we won't have to actually use our two functioning hands to go through the physical drudgery of actually loading the dishwasher, or HOLY SHIT NO!- wash dishes by hand.
What is wrong with us?
I regularly meet people who consider this sort of product to be innovative and yet another fine representation of American ingenuity at work. Is it clever? Sure. Do we need another plastic product that we simply toss in the trash with the mantra "out of sight, out of mind"?
If you're wondering- the answer, my kiddos, is no.
I rarely get preachy here, but someone tell me how this product is necessary. Someone tell me how this improves our quality of life. Sure, I guess the argument could be made that, by not having to wash dishes, the user of such a thing would have 22.5 more seconds to spend with their family. By simply tossing the soiled bag aside, the user would have all the time needed to (finally!) complete their thesis on the impact of hairbrushes on 18th century Chinese literature.
I seriously doubt it. My guess is they would just waste the extra time updating their blog.
I actually saw individually wrapped prunes in the grocery store the other day.
Individually. Wrapped. Prunes.
So, you're telling me that having free-flowing bowels is well worth the 36 plastic wrappers that will linger in a landfill until long after You yourself are fodder for worms?
I eat prunes. I try to buy them in bulk in canisters (they used to be paper/cardboard, but of course now they're in plastic- I can't win) that I re-use as many times as I can.
I'm trying to think of an occasion where I would want an individually-wrapped prune. If I wanted some with my lunch, I would just use a reusable container of some sort. Yes, I know that would involve actually WASHING something, but I consider that my cardio most days. Perhaps if I had a sudden urge to carry prunes around and hand them out like candy to strangers...but I'm not sure how well that would go over.
"Her sir- have a prune!"
"Have a prune! Keeps you regular!"
"Fuck you and your dried plums, weirdo."
Yeah, not so much.
I guess I'm just consistently amazed and appalled at the amount of crap out there. I don't need my prunes packaged 13 different ways. I don't need that many choices. I don't want that many choices if it means more and more garbage. I am capable of taking out a pan and cooking things. I am capable of putting food in a container.
When did life get reduced to: "how fast can we do this?" "can I just throw this away?" and "sure this kitchen cost $50k to remodel but I'll be damned if I'm going to get it dirty!"
I find myself yelling at the t.v. a lot lately, usually the same question:
"Is this really necessary???"
So much of it isn't. Disposable toilet brushes, disposable bags, one-use disposable eye cream dispensers, disposable prune wrappers...
I guess as long as people keep buying it, they'll keep making it.
Personally, I have been trying to do what I can to stop this nonsense. Am I perfect? Hell no. I use ziplocs occasionally, I use saran wrap occasionally, I occasionally buy a bottle of water.
I think the difference we can make is in how often we use this crap. My roll of saran wrap is only half gone and I bought it before Christmas. I use a regular toilet brush.
I'm not telling you what to do, I'm not the boss of you.
And, I'm really not looking for a lengthy debate or sermon on the evils of these sort of products (obviously I get it) or why I'm a liberal nutjob for even suggesting that we shouldn't buy shit that we don't need but that our inherent laziness steers us towards.
I just have to question what drives us to buy this junk, why even people who are usually fairly eco-conscious wouldn't think twice about buying microwave steaming bags because, hey! they're easy, and I'm tired, and I need to walk the dog, and I need to wash my hair...
When did it all start becoming just about what's easy, what's quick, what's the shortest route? I know the media is a huge part of all of this, I get that, and that's a whole other discussion entirely. I just have to wonder when we became so much like beef cattle being herded on slaughterin' day- the many guided by the few to what promises to be a tremendously unhappy ending.
Is it all really necessary?
Are we better for having it?
Are we really saving time?
Or, are we blindly forging forth, oblivious to the consequences?
Like you, I don't have all the answers either. Just lots of questions.