I’ve been forgetting my bags lately, going to the store, unplanned, without them. I’m guilty. I must improve.
The bathroom tub’s been leaking, too, and something’s been wrong with the shower. The toilet must be flushed to earn 45 seconds of warmth. I measure the length of my shower in water-wasting flushes.
And this winter, I didn’t compost 100% of the time. When the snow got deep, I threw out coffee grounds and a peel or two. Or three. Last year, we snowblowed (or is it snowblew?) a path to the composter. I didn’t miss a day.
All these things are adding up, corrupting me to the core of my being. I need to resolve them, not just to get them off my conscience, but to save my inch of the polar icecap as well.
Yesterday was the last straw. The electric company sent me a letter. Not a bill, a letter. I was afraid to open it. I should be on electronic statements by now. Another ecocrime. My heart goes cold when I get two letters in a month. I think I forgot to pay someone. “We are pleased to provide you periodic, personalized Home Energy Reports to help you make smart energy-saving decisions.”
There were graphs. They showed my energy-efficient neighbors…and…ME. IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Last year I used 82% more electricity than my energy-efficient neighbors. I cut that down to 32% coming out of the gate in 2014, but I’ve slipped in the neighborhood rankings from #32 to #40. How is it possible? I turn off lights like a champ. I cooked on the wood stove and sometimes I even hang out my clothes to dry. I go to bed early and shut off the lights. Every time.
But the graph shows my corruption and decline. I’m scared–if it gets much worse I’ll be throwing coffee cups out of car windows, dumping used car oil in my back yard and picking the endangered Lady Slippers on the side of the road like I saw that jogger do last summer. I’ve got to stop the madness now.
I decide to blog in candlelight and reflect the light of the stars inside using a mirror. I can go totally off the grid by salting and drying my food in the sun instead of canning. I hooked up a generator to my bike, and if I pedal fast enough I can charge this computer and make a cup of coffee at the same time. I already buy one-ply toilet paper, but I can reuse kleenexes and dental floss, and the Great Cellar Flood helped me to find my reusable bags. I put them in the car. I don’t need the clothes dryer, after all. I’ll blow on them, or take them in to my classroom, where there’s plenty of hot air.
It’s gardening time and the snow is melted. Composting has begun. For next winter, I’m going to build a 150 foot rope bridge from the house to the composter so I can walk over the snow or zipline out there. And I’m not going to take two weeks off of gardening and let food go to waste this year, even if I am sick. That’s just weakness. Pioneers would have died.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where we go soft. It’s the nature of living in a nation where resources are endless and the only incentive not to waste is a picture sent by the electric company showing I suck.
At least–according to the other graph–I’m beating the “normal people” even if the “energy-efficient” ones, my people, are kicking my behind. Normal people–the ones who use paper napkins at dinner, paper towels to clean, and two-ply in the loo–I beat you. This is America. I’ve got to feel like I’m stepping on someone or it’s no fun getting to the top.
This spring, it’s improvement time. The plumber fixed the leaks. The lights are off. The 2014 season of Grow-Your-Own-Food has begun. Game on. I’m going hard-core this year. No more bag-forgetting or wasting for me. I’m back on the wagon.
Who’s with me?