It’s the shower that gets me every time. As soon as I get in there I can’t get out. And as the clock is ticking and the H2O is washing down the drain, my brain can’t let go of the fact that I’m wasting water.
Then there’s Meatless Mondays. Another one blown to a meatball parm sandwich from the pizza shop. I should be eating salads all day.
And the guilt from all the paper I waste. Just yesterday I made 320 copies for two classrooms and despite making sure all copies were back and front, the heavy weight of remorse is on me.
With all this new environmental awareness comes a sense of self-condemnation for what may be, in the big scheme of things, a small amount of necessary waste. My conscience, however, believes otherwise. In my mind my behavior is extravagant, imprudent thriftlessness. Even the thought of buying a new pair of shoes or a new outfit has me feeling disgusted with myself. Another pair of shoes, bitch? Seventy isn’t enough?
Last week, right at the end of blueberry season in New Jersey (where I reside), I went to the grocery store for blueberries, late at night. I had a craving to make a blueberry pie in the morning and didn’t want to run out early, but instead be prepared to just wake and bake. The fact that I sold myself out to get them from the grocery store was bad enough. But worse than that was that the only blueberries they offered were from Canada. Not only were these blueberries not from Jersey (during blueberry season!), but they were from a foreign country. And what made it really, really, super evil was that I bought them anyway.
We need a Super Hero in the neighborhood, “Guilty Conscience Man” who comes out of the sky, descends upon us and saves us from our own bad behavior.
When I was a kid, I never thought there’d be a time in my life where I’d punish myself for buying certain foods from a grocery store, or for feeling guilty in the shower, or for eating too much meat. And I guess I was wondering if anyone else out there felt the same. Do you have a little environmentalist guy sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear…”Don’t water your grass,” or “Turn off those lights,” or “ Why did you buy your school supplies at Wal-Mart? You promised me you’d boycott that corporate hell.”
Until GC Man arrives on the scene, and instead of flagellating myself, I’ve decided to volunteer at my local farmer’s market. I’m hoping that will offset my bad behavior and alleviate some of this guilt. But the truth is, I miss the old days when a guilty conscience was earned by partaking in truly guilty pleasures– sex on the Eiffel tower, running away from home in nothing more than lingerie and an overcoat, smoking pot on my parents’ roof. Not buying blueberries from Canada or eating a hamburger on Monday.