I read something on the Greenpeace website about this thing called the Trash Vortex which is (This is from the Greenpeace website:) an area the size of Texas in the North Pacific in which an estimated six kilos of plastic for every kilo of natural plankton, along with other slow degrading garbage, swirls slowly around like a clock, choked with dead fish, marine mammals, and birds who get snared. Some plastics in the gyre will not break down in the lifetimes of the grandchildren of the people who threw them away.
Today I got some mail. It was a big package. Inside the big box was a smaller box, wrapped in bubble wrap, and inside that box was more bubble wrap, and inside that was another box.
As I unwrapped the layers, my roommates and I all laughed about how much packaging it took to deliver the thing. We started saying "Think about how much packaging stuff comes in! It's impossible to go to the store and buy something without it coming with TRASH ATTACHED TO IT! I mean, really, think about it. Everything you buy, from a bag of rice, to a can of beans, to a piece of electronics: it all comes with packaging that essentially becomes trash the second you open it. I mean, there's NOTHING you can buy that doesn't have trash with it. Even, like, a BANANA, comes with stickers on it."
I opened the last box, and there was a brand-new mac keyboard in it.
I had forgotten that I'd ordered this a few days ago. I had been typing on my old keyboard and thinking that my fingers were going to cramp up if I kept this up. Meanwhile, Josh over heard me typing, and said "That's a really rickety old keyboard." He was right. Some of the keys would stick when you tried to push them. I needed a new keyboard. With the amount of typing I do, I needed one of those new fangled ones with the shallow, wide, springy keys. The ones that take very little effort per keystroke.
So, today, my new keyboard came in the mail.
All my roommates were impressed. I said "I'd forgotten that I sent this to myself. Sometimes I go online and order stuff, and then I forget about it. It's like an un-birthday present from past-me to present-me. Like 'I know you'll forget you ordered this. SO.. Surprise!'"
For some reason, my roommate said "What if it didn't have a backspace key?" I don't know what made him think of that, but I found it really funny. "Yeah!" I said "What if there were no backspace key, or no delete key? Life would be so different, wouldn't it? What if, just for giggles, you challenged yourself to go a WEEK without using your delete key or your backspace key? Or your undo command? Like, how would that change you?"
"I guess you'd start to be more careful," someone said. "And you'd probably have to be creative.. like if you started to spell a word wrong, you could be creative and turn it into some other word. Maybe you'd end up saying something totally different than what you were going to say in the first place, or you might end up saying the thing you were trying to say, but in a totally round-about-way.
And what if... (To connect the two frayed ends of this idea,) what if you went a week, no, a MONTH, and you weren't allowed to throw anything in the trash can? You had to take all your wrappers and packaging and everything and keep it in your room? Wow! Think about that! Your room would fill up to the brim! What would you do at that point? Probably the same thing as with the keyboard example: You'd be careful about the choices you make in the first place. And then you'd be forced to be more creative with the artifacts of those choices.
God, I'm brilliant.