January 25th, 2012


The Recycling Wrangle

My wife and I argue ever and anon over the proper handling of trash. Not about taking OUT the trash; no, on that point we are simpatico and cooperative and never a cross word passes our lips. But, you see, somewhere along the line, somebody told us that there was trash, and then, there were Recyclables.

Now, you'd think I'd be all for recycling. I'm a life-long Boy Scout, remember? "Save Our American Resources" was THE slogan in 1970. I earned a merit badge in Conservation of Natural Resources. Yeah, I get it. But most recycling today looks to me like a) a scam, and b) a license for people with OCD to inflict their weirdness on everyone else in the household.

The scam comes in when you see the big bins at the Recycling Center, especially the ones for different sorts of paper. This hatch is for newspaper, this hatch is for magazines, etc. Except the various hatches are all on the same bin, and when you have carefully sorted and dumped your waste paper, it all goes in the same place. So what was all that effort for?

As for the OCD part, well, here's where it gets really sticky in our house. My mother-in-law (blessed be she) was utterly incapable of throwing anything away. She washed and saved bread sacks, styrofoam cups, you name it. After her son bought her house from her, he found drawer after drawer, shelf upon shelf of carefully stored CRAP. This is the woman who birthed my wife. And sometimes, it shows.

Me, I'm a clutter bug. I'll admit it. I can't put things away. My filing system is to remember what heap or pile something is in. By the time I finally get around to cleaning things up, all I want is for the trash to disappear. If I could put it in a disintegrator immediately, I would. It's like a barbarian horde I have finally hurled back from the walls. I just want it GONE. But my wife? Oh, no, we have to have a special room to keep our trash in for just a while longer. Because, you know, we're not done loving it yet. Can't stand to be parted from it. Gotta wash it and sort it and pile it up until it takes over the already cluttered mud room. Finally, when we can't get through the room anymore, we take it to the Recycling Center and carefully sort it into various bins that all go to the same landfill.

You see where I'm coming from? Now, aluminum cans, sure. They pay me down at the scrap yard for those. I'm perfectly happy to separate those out and store them up. Everything else, though, needs to be GONE the instant I drop it into a trash bin. I don't suppose they have much in the way of zoning laws out where our cabin stands, but even if they do, I swear when I build my retirement home out in the woods, there's gonna be a big ol' burn barrel ready to hand. ða wif will never even get a chance to mourn it before I've recycled it to ashes.

Musical train wreck

I picked a hymn for Sunday morning that we don't sing much ("Praise my soul the king of heaven"), but which a lot of people probably know. I obviously haven't picked it in a long time, because when we rehearsed it in choir practice tonight, we were all thrown off. They changed the tune I was familiar with (Regent Square) in this Hymnal! Our current Hymnal was produced in 1988, so, yeah, it's been quite a while. Anyway, I think we'll sing it to the old tune I know on Sunday. That's easier than picking a whole new text.