Set your recording devices: our friend Minstrel Boy plays Jeopardy Wednesday night, which is tomorrow. I personally do not own a recording device, though I hear they’re the bee’s knees. Twenty three skidoo, you know! Anyhoo, MB – the fellow on the right – enjoys military history, making chocolates and lapsing into French. The fellow on the left, well, I don’t know. I think he was on The XFiles or something.
A few days ago, the woman who buys paper towels for our department bought a bale of ’em in a brand that wasn’t recycled. I growled. Then I growled some more.
Tata: Have we given up on buying recycled paper towels?
Joanne: They weren’t on sale.
Every so often I receive a gentle reminder that I am a space alien. Look! Here is one! Watch, as I do not switch to my native tongue:
Tata: W – what?
Joanne: We run out of paper towels at sometimes inconvenient moments and the brands we like are not on sale, so we go with a different brand. It’s just timing.
Tata: I’ll get coupons.
Yesterday, I left coupons for Marcal products on her desk. She’s a nice person but we share a cubicle wall and the sound of her voice makes me mildly homicidal. Every afternoon, she eats 10 baby carrots, which I know because everyone knows.
BITE. SNAP. CHEW. BITE. SNAP. CHEW. BITE. SNAP. CHEW. BITE –
By the fourth carrot, Lupe and I are emailing each other from ten feet apart.
Tata: Kill me.
Lupe: Got a carrot costume?
SNAP. CHEW. BITE. SNAP. CHEW. BITE. SNAP. CHEW. BITE. SNAP. CHEW.
Tata: Why haven’t you killed me yet?
Lupe: Oh no. We survive this together.
BITE. SNAP. CHEW. BITE. SNAP. CHEW. BITE. SNAP. CHEW.
In the silence that follows, we mourn the little carrots that fell victim to the day’s carnage. We know that if not for their sacrifice, untold suffering would visit our basement office. Or maybe she’d bring celery. In any case, yesterday, Joanne approached me, coupons in hand and a new plan in mind.
Joanne: Thanks for the coupons. Is this the only recycled brand?
Tata: No, there are quite a few now.
Joanne: Does Shop Rite carry them?
Tata: They should. If they don’t, you could make a fuss. I do.
Joanne: Does Wegman’s?
Tata: Wegman’s certainly does.
Joanne: What about the prices? Are they so expensive nobody buys them so the stores don’t carry them?
Tata: No, stores carry them. And if you buy them, the stores will carry more. It’s too late for us to say this doesn’t matter.
Joanne: Have you seen them in Shop Rite?
Tata: I don’t have a Shop Rite, but they must carry them.
Joanne: Thanks for the coupons. I’ll watch for the sales.
Tata: This for me is putting my money where my mouth is. If it’s a couple of dollars more, then fine. I’ll live with that. I’ll try to keep you supplied with coupons, okay?
This conversation boggled my tiny little mind until I realized: she’s a New Yorker, and not just any New Yorker. She’s from Queens. She knows where her grown children are at every moment. She knows which doctors practice which specialties. And nobody is going to beat her for a dollar. So not only will I keep her in coupons, I will find out which stores she shops in and scope their merchandise. She will appreciate my ability to eviscerate a grocery bill for the Common Good.
Before we bought the composter, I was uncomfortably aware of how much compostable material was going out in garbage. Yesterday, I tossed 12.5 oz. onto the pile. Yes, I weighed that. I’m easily amused. Though it’s winter, the temperature changes have been frequent and crazy; material inside the composter continues to degrade nicely. In addition to this, Pete set up a large square pen like this image except that it is small, round and I pinched it from answers.com. Our leaves are turning into mulch and they need lots of air to do so, giving us the opportunity to spend an hour playing with pitchforks. Our neighbors must enjoy this. I know that if I weren’t me but saw me flinging piles of decaying crap with a pitchfork two-thirds my size, I’d microwave some Orville Redenbacher and summon the kids. “Children,” I’d say, “some lessons must be learned through experience, but some – yes, a special few – can be learned by watching others make exciting mistakes. Please pass the popcorn.”