Previously on Poor Impulse Control, I caught wind of a wild idea.
Come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing recycled products in the paper aisles. At least, I don’t remember recognizing specifically recycled products. I don’t use tissues because everything I own has sleeves – kidding! Paper towels work better for me and efficiently exfoliate the tender nostrils at the same time. Yes, I’m a brute. I use regular kitchen towels, sponges and mops most of the time but for what I use paper towels, I could switch to recycled. In fact, bring it on!
It was brung:
I switched to recycled toilet paper and while I didn’t love it, the idea of loving toilet paper is too much for my tiny mind. In an upscale grocery store near Mr. DBK’s house, I discovered more brands of recycled paper products than I knew existed, which seems promising. The switch to recycled paper towels went fabulously, which might sound like exaggeration except it also provided me with occasions to drag grocery store managers through anemic paper product aisles and demand better selections, which havoc you can wreak also wherever you shop. It’s a blast, and until everyone has a decent selection of recycled paper products in their grocery store, convenience store, drug store or bodega, you can pretty much bet on world-changing havoc and hilarity wherever you go. It’s a renewable resource, like solar energy and celebrity hijinx – though, since I don’t pay attention, about once a week I wonder when Britney Spears’ husband took up championship tennis.
And brung some more:
I was just about to declare my happiness with recycled paper towels when Karama Neal of So What Can I Do? suggested ditching paper towels entirely and going with cloth napkins. I don’t want to advocate anything without giving it a go myself, so after 10 August, I haven’t bought any paper towels of any kind. Let’s talk specifics.
1. What cloth napkins? Years ago, Auntie InExcelsisDeo gave me a hamper full of the ugliest ancestral cloth nakpins you’ve ever seen in your life and some that were just silly-looking, with the admonition that my beloved grandmother Edith would spin in her grave if I set fire to them. So I started out with a bale of cloth napkins I’d pretend I don’t know in public, which I tossed into the washer in my kitchen Sharkey describes as “the world’s largest bread machine.” I didn’t have to buy or make them. I had them – and they had me.
2. What do I use paper towels for? Other than emergency spills – for which paper towels are ill-suited – I use paper towels because I am allergic to only two things: oxygen and nitrogen, and I sneeze a lot. Tissues are flimsy, wasteful and useless. Handkerchiefs have always seemed disgusting. Are you kidding me? I blow my nose, fold my hanky and stuff it in my pocket – where I’m certain to stuff my hand eventually? That can’t be sanitary. On the other hand, my grandfather, whom I adore, has always carried a hanky. The old Cape Codders have always been very careful about their resources and creating garbage. I couldn’t deny it would be a sensible course of action, and I could diminish the Ick Factor by dropping used cloth napkins directly into the washer.
3. What do paper towels mean? We didn’t have paper towels when I was growing up. Rich people had paper towels and air conditioning. We didn’t have those. When I started thinking about the meaning of disposable stuff, the expense, the trees, the toxins, I couldn’t even argue with Me. Thus, clean cloth napkins sit in colorful piles all over my house.
That was a very good year for things going tragically wrong and hilariously right, so when I had dinner napkin-shaped hankies all over my swingin’ bachelor pad only I was chagrinned. I got used to tossing them into the washing machine and quit thinking about paper towels completely until kittens yakked on my kitchen floor. Kittens became cats, I moved house, we acquired another kitten and tenants; we’ve stuck to recycled paper products and cloth napkins. But a funny thing happened when I stopped thinking about what I was doing: I stopped thinking about what I was doing. The other night, I had one of those embarrassing revelations that make my life a rich pageant.
Tata: You know how we sit here during our undeniably fabulous dinners trying not to eat with our fingers because we wish to virtuously avoid using paper napkins?
Pete: I guess.
Tata: And you know I have piles of cloth napkins still boxed up from one of Dad’s restaurants?
Pete: That I know, yes.
Tata: Well, it finally fucking occurred to me we could use then as dinner napkins.
I’m a slow learner.