Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beauty in Nature / Confessional

Today is smoke-free day 239, and I do not throw lit cigarette butts out the window.

I was pretty sure that I would have nothing to contribute to the latest cool project Lotus (Sarcastic Mom) has going on over at her blog. I mean, it's all about Beauty in Nature, and I'm the first to admit that I am probably a tree-hugger's nightmare because I don't tend to go out of my way to save the environment one recycled pop can at a time or whatever. Sometimes I make my bad self feel better by acting like there is something wrong with the hippies good custodians of our environment that care because it makes me feel better than admitting that I'm just too damn lazy, and apparently, crusty. Truly, I'm annoying and obstinate in real life for no good reason - hard to believe, I know... My stance on saving the environment has typically been that if "they" (whoever "they" are) make it easy for me to recycle, then I'll play along. Where I live, it ain't easy, so I tend to throw away stuff that I used to toss into a recycle bin.

Still, I thought about some changes I've made in the past several months and realized that while the environmentalist folks are not in any danger of losing status for most concerned and helpful and making the most difference compared to pitiful little ol' me, I am doing my tiny part. And, secretly, between you and me, my girl Lotus has maybe inspired me to pick up another good habit or two (shh... don't say that out loud).

What I've done already (and confessions):
  1. Several years back I stopped throwing lit cigarettes out of my car window because I became enlightened (and feared setting a forest on fire or getting a ticket). I know, before that I was an asshole. I agree.
  2. That said, at the entrance of any store, restaurant or other place I treated as my own personal ashtray, in the absence of a proper butt receptacle (or even just a garbage can), I continued being guilty of putting a cigarette out with my shoe and not picking it up leaving it there so that some other poor shmuck would have to clean up my mess while the rest of you had to walk past it in disgust. I quit smoking on June 18, 2007, so I no longer do that. Yes, I'm glad, too.
  3. It also has to be a good thing that I'm not polluting the air with stinky cigarette smoke, too, no? Not sure, but still glad I did the Chantix thing and quit smoking, because I'm tired of breathing poison air, and sometimes I smoked while I hiked. I'm sure everyone loved it.
  4. Speaking of hiking, now I actually walk sometimes instead of driving (because walking still helps me not want to smoke), and I only wish that I lived in an area where I could do that even more. Still, every little step helps.
  5. I admit, most of the above are more just a bunch of happy horseshit things to remind me why I'm glad I quit smoking than about me actively trying to do right for Beauty in Nature, but this one is more real (though my motives were money related). I have purchased three of those reusable bags from my favorite grocery store. I am religious about using them, too. Ask Tom. I will go back inside the damn apartment to get them if I forgot at the last grocery unload, and if I then leave them in the car, I'll go back out to it mid-shop to get them before checking out. When you are as forgetful as I am, this process can be annoying. I *love* these reusable bags because:
  • they hold much, much more than the nasty paper/plastic ones
  • they are much more sturdy
  • best of all, and my real motive, if I'm being honest here (why stop now) the store gives me $0.06 back for each bag!! If you do Maggie Math, me going to the store about 100 times a week (so that I can cook stuff to torment people with pictures on Sundays), bringing 3 bags each time = $0.18 per trip = either a whole bunch more lattes, or early retirement, not sure.
What I'm inspired to do from here (and confessions):
There would be almost no point to this post if I didn't feel inspired enough to at least make some small changes. Painless. Little. Changes.
  1. Did I mention that since recycling where I live requires me to do something other than just throw stuff into either "the garbage bin" or "the recycling bin" (those were the easy days when I recycled with the best of them!), as in I think I'd have to actually sort stuff out, that I'm a lazy and careless person when it comes to this kind of thing? No more excuses. No more lazy. It's not that hard to separate out the recyclables and bring them with me when I'll have to start taking out the trash when Tom is temporarily away (sob).
  2. Read all of the wonderful ideas other bloggers have come up with as part of this project, and pick out the easiest ones. Just because it's easy stuff doesn't mean it doesn't make a difference.
  3. On some of my said walks, I will carry a bag to clean up other people's messes. Lying to myself all those years that cigarette butts didn't count as litter was a bunch of crap, so I'll do it without even griping, grumbling or whining, instead thinking of it as my own little form of making amends.
  4. OK, that's plenty for a start for someone like me. Other than continuing not to smoke or pollute or litter (funny how I used to not consider cigarette butts litter in the same way as other pollution like fast food wrapper trash that makes me *so irate*), continuing to walk instead of drive when possible and using my wonderful money back reusable grocery bags.
I might live a lot more years as a non-smoker. I don't want to live in filth. Beauty in Nature does matter to me, no matter what the lazy part of me says. Thank you, Lotus, for the reminder and reason for me to think.


  1. Yeah....I'm not doing it. But good on you. I commented somewhere else, that we do a lot of the stuff the other people are blogging about. I think common sense and common decency are best. You remember my big rant on this topic, no?

  2. I re-remembered your rant and went back to comment on it because all you said about the PC bullshit side of things is so, so, very, very true. This is the obstinate part of me I mentioned...

  3. You totally just rocked my world.

    One, honestly is obviously my thing, and I really admire that.

    Two, you are able to see that any change in the right direction is a good change! Rock on for realistically choosing things that you can easily do!

    And whatever it's worth, it IS really great that you stopped smoking, that you walk, and use those reusable bags, no matter what all the reasons are.

    You made my heart feel all mushy. I'm so stoked, because for every inspiring post like this I read, I am getting more inspired myself.

    You guys are like crack rock for me! LOL

  4. Maggie,
    I can so relate to your attitude on the enviorment. I also never considered cigarette butts trash..especially while throwing them out the window! I was raised by people who won't use Windex (vinagar and water pleeeeese!) no paper towels or any paper product for that matter because its WASTEFUL and air conditioning is and has been definetly out of the question! In the house and the car (until recently because the Hybrid vehicles put air conditioning automatically.) Lets just say I became a lot like the conservative son in that show Family Ties (where the kids were raised by hippy parents and they turned out to be non-liberals) I think me not throwing my cigarette butts on the floor is a good start! Actually, I am WAY better than I used to but I still use papertowels and paperplates in my own house because I can! I think I should pick one from the list and "Pay it back for thirty years of throwing butts on the ground. I will let you know which one I decide on.

  5. Lotus, thanks for letting me kind of "get in where I'm at" with this project. I didn't think I had much to say, but then I did.

    Mz Diva, I completely get what you mean, even if I didn't really have the environmentally friendly parent thing. There is a balance somewhere between overboard in either direction, and I'm aiming for common sense stuff, which brilliant Tasina already said above ;)

  6. I picked up a stray peace of paper that was on the ground outside of CVS and threw it in the trash. Does that count? Ok, actually I made my seven year old son do it, but it still counts, yes?

    Seriously though, it upsets me when I'm driving and happen to look along the side of the road when I'm stopped at a light and I see all the trash that people have thrown out their car windows. (The fast food bags and cups bug me the most!) How hard is it to wait until they get to where they are going to throw it away properly?!

  7. You know what, my friend, doing one thing is a start.. You've done way more and I can sense that you won't give up. Quitting's your thing, but not this kind of quitting. I {puffy heart} you!

  8. Lynda, I think it counts ;) Trite but true, every little bit does help, and I agree that some people are lazy and gross. I get not always picking the best "green" thing to do, but it's not too hard to just not litter...

    Thank you, Secret Agent Mama! Yep, I'll keep doing my thing, my own little ways. It works.

  9. i think its awesome both that you quit smoking and that you changed your littering ways!!!
    all it takes is one small change in our habits and it is making a difference.
    you should be proud of yourself :)

  10. you can also use those plastic bags as gloves while you pick up the butts ... cuz touching butts with bare hands ... only if you know who's butt it is

    (I might have gotten off topic in this comment...)

  11. Thanks, Missy. Yep, every little bit.

    Dawn, excellent point!


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