My lungs are a dust collection machine
Spring-like weather has inspired me to spring-like cleaning, which has led to the inhalation of untold quantities of dust particles this past week. And while you might say “Certainly, there must be a better way to get rid of dust than to personally inhale all of it,” and while I might make valiant efforts to contain what I’m stirring up, the result is always the same: Days and days of sneezes and sniffles.
On the upside, there is not so much as a shoebox hidden under my bed anymore, and the space has been vacuumed. This is big news.
This year’s device, better than last year’s
We took a few old printers to the dump, where I looked upon a sea of retired home electronics in the e-waste area and tried to imagine how much money had been spent to acquire these goods in the first place, and how excited someone must have been about each individual item when new, only for them to all wind up discarded here. The scale of it surprised me: stereos and office printers stacked like bricks, flatscreen TVs in quantities greater than I’ve ever seen lining the aisles. (We got our first flatscreen TV last year, from someone’s driveway. I hope it will be some time before it sees a landfill.)
And all this waste goes… where? Palletized and shipped off to somewhere we try not to think about.
Depositing our few little electronics, which we’ve been accustomed to living among and seeing for these many years, at the perimeter of this vast sea of other people’s electronics seemed as preposterous as returning a single grain of sand to the beach.
Public libraries are magic
My current read is The Illustrated History of Magic by Milbourne Christopher, which I am pleased to still find on a public library shelf nearly 50 years after it was first published.
I charge by the hour, so don’t hire me
I really don’t trust myself much with power tools, but I used a circular saw without severing any fingers. If you count the time spent reading the entire instruction manual, twice, before I would even plug in the tool, it only took me 2 hours to cut three pieces of wood.
It started with an entree
It started with an entree. I can’t remember which entree it was, but at some point, I bought a meatless entree that sounded better to me than the meat entrees. I ate it and thought “Well, that was pretty good.”
Then I found other vegetarian entrees I liked, including in the freezer section at the grocery store, and I kept buying those. I came to know the brands, and which dishes I preferred from each.
Then, on an otherwise unremarkable grocery shopping trip, I realized that I only had one chicken entree on my list for the week. If I replaced that one meal, it would be a meat-free week. Realizing how close I already was, I had to give it a try. It was just one shopping trip, just one week, just an experiment.
That was five years ago, and I haven’t bothered with meat since.
Sometimes I find myself being interrogated about this dietary choice, and I feel the listener waiting for some big story, some big reason, some big sermon. I can’t offer them much beyond sleepy, noncommittal incrementalism. It happened bit by bit. Options abound these days, so it wasn’t hard. At a certain point, it just became blindingly obvious that this was the thing to be done. One day you start. The next thing you know, you’ve been doing it for five years.
Hello, cedar waxwings
“During courtship, males and females hop towards each other, alternating back and forth and sometimes touching their bills together. Males often pass a small item like a fruit, insect, or flower petal, to the female. After taking the fruit, the female usually hops away and then returns giving back the item to the male. They repeat this a few times until, typically, the female eats the gift.”
I love hearing how people become vegetarians, especially when it’s somewhat accidental. my story is similar: after mostly cutting out beef over a few years, I realized I rarely ate meat anymore. friends challenged me to veg out for a month and I never looked back. that was almost 17 years ago.
(I do have an answer to the big question, which is that I stayed veg for the sake of the environment. but it basically started on a whim.)