Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Some things have become habits for me, and that's key. We all turn off lights when we leave a room. Even when I'm scrambling to get out the door, I remember to hit the lights. But it takes time and will to develop those habits. And it's curious to me how that happens and why it doesn't happen for more people. I don't think about composting; it's just second nature and has been for decades. But it's just recently that I got to the point where I stop myself from giving a class handouts that are single sided or not on re-use-it paper if they're only one side long. People at school still forget to turn off computer monitors when they're done, yet that one became ingrained in me easily. I have no idea why. I started putting a travel mug beside my guy's workboots every night for him to use in the morning. He still forgets to grab it.
I realize drive and interest are important factors in developing habits, but I wonder if some people are just more open to change than others. Something like that.
This week, sick as dogs, my 5-year-old tried valiantly to make it to the bathroom, but let loose a torrent of bile on the only carpet we have in the house - the basement stair runner. The runner's hiding the fact that the stairs are seriously sagging, but we're not up for fixing them any time soon. I scrubbed it immediately - baking soda, vinegar, plain soap. That did nothing. Later that night, we tried harsher detergents. Still the entire basement was malevolently fumigated. Our only TV is in the basement and the smell seemed to sink down to ground level, so we couldn't doze in front of the idiot box while we recovered. Could it get any worse? We had to get out the big guns: first a steam cleaner. Nada. Then a chemical assault: Febreze, and later some Odour Destroyer. I'm not sure what's in either, but I pretty much lost my eco cred using them - and maybe a few days of my lifespan. To add injury to insult, after giving up on environmental cleaners and going to the dark side, my efforts again failed. The air refused to clear. We ripped up the carpet and set it out with the trash. It's off to top up the landfill, and we're in the market for a new runner.
Really we don't need a runner, but if we want to present a modicum of, I don't know what, decency? civility? something - we need to cover the tattered steps or risk being shunned by friends and family alike. I typically think nothing's more important than helping the planet recover, but I could be wrong.