What a Waste

You know it’s Christmas when you get to the mailbox and it’s filled to bursting with useless catalogs. What a waste! I just got 15 glossy’s in today’s mail and  every one of them has ended up in the recycle bin. What a complete waste! And then there’s the books filled with useless coupons. You know, the one’s where you can get $1 off Huggies, and you don’t have any kids, or $5 glue for false teeth, and you don’t actually have any false teeth! It’s so sad to think that we are totally consumed by this influx of magazines, particularly and Christmas time, and that so many tree’s have given their lives so that we can just discard that magazine in our recycle bins and watch it re surface as a Starbucks paper bag or another useless coupon at the local Safeway. Just think what we could do with all that paper, or forgive me, trees, if we didn’t chop them down in the first place. Oh, but then I forgot, our USPS service, already in a state of collapse, would disappear under the premise that it’s staff had nothing to deliver! No one sends letters anymore, so the sooner they realize that they are destined to go in the direction of that same recycled bin, the better off we all might be! When are we all going to wake up to the fact that mail, snail mail, is going to be a thing of the past? The USPS was asleep for the last 20 years while other companies like Fedex, UPS and their like, began to dominate a marketplace that demanded instant gratification, which also meant instant delivery. Hence the value of email, and the arrival of everything that you desire, within a 24 hour period. Oh, how life has changed.

In Scotland, as a child, we used to have pen pals. Do you remember doing that? I remember there was a service, and that service sent you a form to fill out and then paired you up with one or two people in different countries and you would send each other letters. Sometimes it would take months for that letter to arrive, often longer, but the thrill of receiving a hand written letter was incredible. Even if the letter consisted of only one page, you were the talk of all the classroom because your friend in Australia had written back telling you all the latest news and gossip from a life you could only dream of. It was marvelous. My first pen pal was Michelle Guigui in Paris, I even recall her address, Ave Mozart. She was so keen to come to visit me in Scotland, but as was usual in all these instances, that visit never actually materialized. It took me nearly 8 months to get her to send me a picture of her and her family, but look what happens now? You get pictures, video and live Skype calls, all in the space of moments. How things have moved on.

We never had coupons when I was growing up, we had bills. Only bills. The excitement was to receive a check, not a bill, but that was a rare occurrence too, and magazines were delivered with the Sunday newspaper and not just randomly, as they were this afternoon. Our life was so different. I was always stating that we would never be like our parents, in that we would never say, “oh, the good old days, they were so much better” and yet, here I am siting with my hands on keyboard telling you of how that past seemed so much better, perhaps not better, perhaps more simplified. Our choices today are so many, our ability to choose, so convoluted, and the choices we make are often surpassed by something better that we desire after we have chosen. That’s why there is so much wastage. I watch as people, kids and adults alike, and again, I include myself in this category, receive a gift, make a purchase or set our sights on something, anything, that might change or brighten up our lives, only to purchase or receive that item and find something much better just around the corner, or on another page in another catalog, only to commence the whole ‘want’ process once again. It’s very evident in the teenage generation of today. One minute there’s the greatest new game for the computer and within days, the next greater than greatest has already arrived. What happened to going outside and playing with a gold old, one of a kind, football or baseball? Even footballs are becoming softer, lighter, faster, and more perfect, but they are still only a football!

And so another trip to my recycle bin commences, because tomorrow the garbage men arrive,(dustbin men for those of you in the UK, but then you knew that!), ready and willing to take anything that I have discarded into that particular receptacle, to wherever they take it to. I have often wondered if there are teams of employed garbage selectors posted at journey’s end? I mean, with what I throw in that particular bin varies so much, all recyclable, and all perfectly legit, who actually determines what goes into what recycle direction once it arrives at the processing plant? Anyone got any thoughts on that? I see many people who are so obviously down on their luck, peddling bicycles from garbage bin to garbage bin and collecting cans and bottles, all which, offer a recycle fee at any of the many recycle stations based here in CA, but what about the wrapper from my cereal box? Where does that end up? Or, the paper that my dental floss came in? Or with so many other things that are recyclable, who is it that determines their fate? I am really curious. And once fate is determined, what is the process to take these items and make them into something else? Anyone know that one??

Yes, Christmas is upon us, as proven by a continual parade of large SUV’s toddling down the main road near my home, with their proverbial freshly cut Christmas tree from the Christmas tree farm, tied to the top of said car. Another complete waste of planet earth’s resources. Get a fake one, or just don’t bother, don’t kill innocent trees that might end up making fancy magazines to advertise unwanted gifts that all end up in my recycle bin to make other products that I’ll never know or care about!

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