I’ll try being nicer if you try being smarter!

This weekend, I did something I normally vow never to do. Something I take desperate measures to avoid, at nearly any cost. By doing what I did, I seriously broke one of my ethical/moral stances. I betrayed my university education and many things that I both believe in and preach to others.

I walked into my apartment after work on Friday, looked around and realized I had reached a point where I really had forced myself into it. I had no choice.

I had to. I had to buy…paper towel.

Paper towel, in my mind, represents all that is wrong with this world. Dispose of everything, advertisers say. Reusing is for old people, who still wait for the next Great Depression to roll around. If you reuse stuff, you’ll have germs, and god knows we’re not equpped as a species to handle germs. I hate paper towels. They kill trees, they use chlorine, bleach and are often partners in crime with Lysol or some such shit, and we package them up oh so nicely in plastic, wrapped in more plastic. Awesome.  We’re so fucking terrified of specks of dirt in our home, we destroy trees, forests and pollute our way to the ends of the earth to clean it up. God forbid we use cloths or rags, and just wash them. The sheer amount of research and development that goes into these things is ridiculous. Fancy patterns, liquid pockets, suckupability, different sized sheets…ugh. Not to mention the fact that they totally SUCK. They can’t soak up anything and only last about 3.2 seconds. Why wouldn’t you use a cloth that can actually scrub and absorb?

Uh….yeah…..totally sustainable, right? Don’t worry, they’ll plant a whole new monoculture of perfectly aligned trees with no ability to ever become a functioning ecosystem and call it a ‘forest’. It’s called ‘greenwashing’. Trust me, I went to school with a bunch of hippies. Ahem.

But getting back to why I broke down and bought some….I walked into my place on Friday and looked around. Remember I was talking about how much I hate myself for being such a lazy bastard? Well it had reached a peak that night. My apartment was a full-blown, disgusting, indisputable hell-hole of a mess, due to my inability to get off my ass and maintain a house that wasn’t about to condemned by the Department of Health.

I picked up my cell, called the boyfriend immediately and vowed to clean the apartment this weekend. “I vow it!” I yelled. “It HAS been vowed, it SHALL be done!”

Problem was, it had reached such a level of disgust, that it was totally beyond any cloths. All the cloths I have knitted were not going to be able to tackle this. I had to admit to myself that it had progressed to ‘paper towel’ level. My army of well-crafted, cutely coloured cloths weren’t equipped to handle the sheer volume of grossness that needed to be tackled. I needed something that could be covered in dirt, hair and dust and be disposed of and never mentioned ever again.

So far, I’ve cleaned half of the house. I’ve cleaned the kitchen, the bathroom (yeesh), the computer desk and half of the floor. I have dusting and vaccuuming the rest of the floor left to do.

Then I shall continue my paper towel boycott. And I will be sure to whip up some more cloths….or more likely, rip up shirts that I’ve grown too fat for and use them as washable rags.

 I should probably plant some trees or something for environmental penance. I’m sorry Earth.


In a completely non-related random thought that shall never have an entire post devoted to it, let’s talk about batteries. Cell phone and digital camera batteries. Why can nobody create a proper battery indicator? I will have three bars on my phone, take a 20 second call and suddenly, the damn thing is beeping at me, begging for a power source. Same thing with car gas tanks. I remember my car would have a full tank for like, 300 kilometres. Then one day, I’d drive for 5 minutes and I would driving on “P for Pray” and need gas immediately. What is that?? 


Comments on: "I may as well drive an SUV" (13)

  1. I agree with you. I have never bought paper towels in my life, but growing up they were always in the household, because back then it’s what all of the ‘super-moms’ used. My Mom couldn’t be a great-mom, oh no, she had to be a super-mom.

    Company on my list of things-never-to-buy, those ‘Scrubbing Bubbles” things. You know, the thing with the tank that cleans your shower? And the ‘action scrubber’? That is just murder. Also, any of the Mr. Clean products.

    You’d think the thought of global-warming was implanted into everyone’s head by now. I guess not. I don’t own a car by the way, I just take the Metro.

    Yeah, and Swiffer. Swiffer is another analogy of all that is wrong with the world. It’s called elbow grease people, you don’t need armies of animated bubbles to clean your tub.
    Yay for no car! I’m car-less too.

  2. kaylee said:

    OMG We would die in this house without those. how have you been talea? I am sorry i havent stopped by in a while but i am about to have back surgery 😦

    I’m doing well hun, I’ve snapped out of my winter blahs funk.
    Eat lots of ice cream to get your strength up and I hope the surgery goes well.

  3. javaqueen14 said:

    Ha! Ha! It’s ok, you had to break down this time. You know, I am such a jerk, I buy paper towels but try not to use them. When I do break down and use ONE, I feel horrible. I gotta work on that. I just have to stop buying them because you are 100% right on, correct. It’s not a necessity. A nice “wash cloth” type rag soaked in some cleanser in the sink is the way to go, and just wash it up over and over again, just like the parents and grandparents managed….. I VOW TO WORK ON THAT!!!

    Also, good point on the whole cell phone battery thing. When it shows all 4 bars, I think, “Hmmm, really? Cuz I used this yesterday and never charged it again…” and sure enough, I leave the house and go to use it and after I get off the phone it’s down to 1 bar! Amen sister! It’s b.s.! 😦

    It has been vowed!!!! It SHALL be done! Hahaha, dude, you don’t even have to buy cloths. Just rip up some old shirts. You know you have some, we all do.
    And the cell phone battery will inevitably plummet when you are very far away from your charger and have an important call to make.

  4. I don’t see what the big deal is. There’s still a shit ton of forests out there, and honestly, they do grow back pretty quick. Besides, couldn’t we just chop all the trees down in some shitty part of the world, like new jersey. We could just turn the entire state into a tree farm for paper towels. Considering my job requires me to spend a good portion of my day cleaning out trailers that have been beat to hell and back, often filled with scary mystery shit, I’m so down with disposable cleaning products. We have not only disposable paper towels, but disposable rags as well.

    I guess if it was a really really big deal to a certain hippie who shall remain nameless, I could quit using paper towels at home and start wiping everything off with bald eagles and spotted owls I capture, but I’d rather just use the Brawny.

    You sound like my brother. You therefore get no response, as he never gets responses from me when he wears his stupidity on his sleeve in such an obnoxious manner.

  5. Josh is a nut! LOL! I’m guilty as charged, and I agree with you. What a huge hypocrite I am. Perhaps I should change my ways. Does this mean I have to start wiping my ass with rags too? I’m not sure I’m down with that. 😛

    Whatever you do with your ass is your business Peter!

  6. whatigotsofar said:

    Gas tank sensors differ from car to car. Can’t help you out with that one.
    As for the battery, the technology is incredibly complicated. It doesn’t necessarily work in such a way that the amount of power left in the battery can be properly gauged. The gauge on your cellphones, iPods and other such digital devices are best estimates as to how much longer the battery will last under the current level of power usage.

    Well look at that! You totally win the prize for most practical comment ever on this blog! Thanks.

  7. You know I’m with you on the paper towel thing, I never buy them. When it gets too gross for a reusable cloth to deal with there are these – http://www.greenfeet.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=5501-04080-0000

    They’re sponges made from organic walnuts (no shit) so when they’re all covered in hair and grime and stuff you can just toss them in the compost bin and never speak of them again. They’re $1.50 a piece on the site, but you can find them cheaper in bulk.

    I haven’t used these ones, but I’ve used others like it. Even toilet paper in a pinch, depending on what you’re cleaning, can be put in the compost as well.

    Also, the evolution of my green side is largely due to you! I honestly never cared as much before we became friends.

    Awww! And I don’t even preach to you! I must just rub off on you. I’m so proud to make you a little bit greener. And you made me greener by teaching me how to knit!! Knitted cloths ahoy!

  8. I don’t use paper towels because I’m cheap and lacking on room. However, you’ve seen the state of my apartment before my recent Martha Stewart tranformation. Sometimes the filth outweighs any risks to the environment. Don’t beat yourself up.

    Yes, there were times that your apartment validated the use of paper towels.
    I’m glad you understand.

  9. Oh, and sidebar to the boyfriend: we don’t have any bald eagles or spotted owls around. I’d be fine if you used them as a cleaning tool cause I’m sure they’d live and I think that’d be pretty rad to have them around the house. Alas, no such luck. Please refrain from using pigeons, they’re just nasty.

    Rats with wings man, rats with wings. Yech.

  10. I see your point, I’ve never thought about the long term damage I was being accomplice to, the few times I’ve bought paper towels… those things DO suck, and damn it… in a good way. May God have mercy on us all.

    Well….they DO suck, you have a point there.

  11. I’m not saying I don’t care about mother earth, I just have so much of it that it doesn’t matter much to me. I think it might be different when i live in a big city. I mean, I can literally walk out of my backyard, through woods, then through farm land, to a lake with a park, connected to the river system I drink out of.

    I don’t litter. I don’t pour out nasty shit. I do my best to keep nature as it should be. I recycle. I save animals from the road. I feed the wildlife that comes through our back yard. (ie: deer, foxes, coons, possum, wild birds, squirrels) But honestly, I like convenience. So wrap my tasty food in plastic, and give me my paper towels, and keep my motor runnin on gasoline. I have more nature than I have time to keep it safe. It’s not so important to me. Sorry. Besides, paper towels are made of paper if I’m not mistaken, which rots right back into earth. Shouldn’t you be bitching about something worse, like plastic towels. (that’s what I use to clean my baby seal killer that runs on ozone and toxic waste)

    I choose to ignore you Josh. I shall hash this out via Emerald’s webcam one day with you.

  12. Hmm…this was an enlightening post…I will stand here and admit that indeed there are paper towels in my house, and if I can recall…ummm yeah I friggin’ use them…as for those quilted/pocketed/thick ones they’re obscene, but I guess the message there is to use them over and over before you throw them out, and hence use less overall (but the amount of people who actually do that is probably rare)….in my case I figure if I buy the ones made from recycled paper it ain’t so bad, but then when I think about how environmentally unfriendly those recycled-paper towel-producing plants probably are…welll *ahem*…what’s that over there? Oh, I think that would be a cloud of guilt…

    …SO: am I gonna sit here and vow to never use a paper towel again? Ummm….prolly not (I’m not trying to be a wise-ass, I’m just recognizing the fact that it is not in human nature (at least not in my own) to change 180 degrees overnight)…I think it IS however realistic for us to make less and less of an imprint on the environment in little ways, and for that I can look to how I subway AND GO Train it everyday to minimize using my car (when I could easily drive all the way to the subway station), or doing laundry in cold water, or using a heated fan instead of jacking up the heat in the whole house, or using energy-efficient light bulbs, or finally getting a Starbucks travel mug (YES!!!) so I don’t chuck out a cup everyday….IN CONCLUSION, I hope I’m helping the earth in little ways, but I’m also a bit of a bastard who doesn’t think about it 24/7…hence, this post was well-done and enlightening 🙂 (now all I have to do is find a way to sleep at night, since one of the products I’m responsible for Advertising in the Canadian Tire flyer is paper towels..fuck, fuck, fuck….)

    …time to cut up some old t-shirts and balance out the universe 😉 (seriously though, I grew up on old t-shirt rags when my mom would enlist me to clean the windows all slave-like and shit at age 8….lol…, time to get back to the 80’s! 🙂 )

    (wow this was a rant of a comment…should I keep going??…nah, I have to catch up on your other frickin’ posts!!!)

    Ahhhh! You advertise the paper towels in the crappy tire flyers? Romi!?!! Oy vey, I say, oy vey. But I’m glad I inspired you to cut up some shirts.
    And I’m so proud of you for doing little things like lightbulbs and getting rid of disposable cups. They do add up! Yay Romi!

  13. […] Pix: 05/08/08 Inspired by a recent post of Talea’s (the lean, mean, GREEN […]

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