Saturday, 2 October 2010

Conform! Conform! Conform! Just give me paper bags.

The pressure to conform takes subtle turns, but is constant, continuous and insidious. You may not even notice it when it happens, it can be so quick and innocuous, so casual and quiet. The pressure to conform looks like this:

I was bagging my groceries in Toronto where we have a tax - five cents per bag, so everyone brings their own bags. The woman beside me leans in close, says "Forgot your bags in the car?"

"No," says I, "I like to use the bags for compost" adding, "I don't know how anyone gets by without them." (Heave huge bag onto overfull cart for me and family. )

"I just use these," she points to the clear vegetable bags. "They are good for compost" I stare, thinking, "why didn't I ever think of that?"
We blather on with a few more inanities and off we go. In the parking lot she is parked beside me, her trunk available now because she has had the forethought to back her vehicle in, while mine is the wrong way around. Whatever.
So, I start thinking - I have more groceries, we eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Our compost bag bulges to the brim every day. That puny clear bag she pointed to would break. Therefore, she is wrong, I am right. Yet, why do I feel like my giant cartful of yellow bags is somehow now a big red flag - indicating that I do not conform.  I don't really care, but...
Behind me I hear a man calling out as he runs "Wait, I forgot my bags in the car!"

So, is it me? I suppose so. Eventually, I will come up with an alternate solution. (Maybe use two small bags together?). Pressured to conform, once again.

On the other hand, how about we use paper bags instead?  Like we did when I was very young. Groceries stores would give you paper bags - free - and they would be used for garbage. Wet things went in the toilet, cans in the can garbage, potato peelings were wrapped in newspaper and if the paper bag that you had lining the inside garbage can  did get wet, you would wrap the entire bag and contents in newspaper and put it out in the outside garbage can. Then they invented plastic bags.

Now, they tax you for the bag, expect you to buy reusable bags (which I did, but forgot at home) and overall make you feel bad for using plastic bags while raking in five cents per bag. So, City Hall - why don't you really fix the problem and pass a law that will make grocery stores give us paper bags again?

No comments: