Friday, July 11, 2008

Toxicity Toxic City

I had to poison my cat today. Well, I'm presumably poisoning her fleas, of course, but I'm sure it poisons her, too. I put the poison on her on the first of the month. Some of you calendar-oriented folks out there might want to point out that today is the eleventh of the month, not the first. Yes. But then Mike might read this and become indignant because I scream at him for not poisoning his pets with regularity. It's really a challenge to maintain hypocrisy.

A couple days ago I received a big, big box that was holding a folding magazine rack. I'm going to use it to display the papier-mache Ashanti tribal symbols I make. They're wall-hangings and will fit nicely. I'm pretty thrilled with it, actually. It came swathed in bubble-wrap which I had to peel off it like a wet sock. I tossed it into a corner because goddess forbid I should take care of things as they come up.

And that's where Mittens is sitting. She's nested, poisoned, in a pile of plastic.
I dug out some little areas rugs recently that had been stored in a big plastic tub from RubberMaid. The smell was awful. I tossed the tub out on the porch where it's probably staving off everything from raccoons to iguanae to mosquitoes from its stench alone. That's when I decided that I'm going to slowly get rid of the nasty things that live here. If it's not good for the earth, how can it be good for me?

I used to drink bottled water, but then I became self-employed (ahem) and didn't want to pay for it. For a while, I drank tap water, blessing and thanking the water a la Dr. Emoto (look him up -- he's great!). I let some people talk me into believing that tap water's really bad, though, so I've started with the Brita pitcher-and-filter getup. The filter lasts for two months for the average family of four.

Think about that for a minute.

Okay. Now let's translate for the average family of one. You'd think that would mean that my filter will last for eight months. But wait. Maybe the average family isn't home all day long. Okay. Should we knock off half a day? More? Less? And what if the average family drinks eight cans of soda each every day and the water they drink is limited to what they accidentally swallow while brushing their teeth, which are rotting away from all that soda but would be restored if only they'd drink tap water, which contains fluoride?

You see my dilemma.

Going to Brita's website is no help. I don't have the patience to wait for the screen to settle down. It takes forever to download because, look! there are faint little bubbles everywhere! Aww. How clever! Yeah. By the time the site's ready to go, I'm ready to delete.

Well, I put the filtered water into my ice cube tray and I've discovered that, after a while, the cubes leave teeny white flakes of, what? Water? What's going on with those white floating things? They remind me of fish food. I've decided that when my cubes start leaving those flakes, it's time to begin the preliminary procrastination for changing the filter.

But how nice not to have dozens of plastic bottles to recycle! The more I don't buy bottled water, the happier I am about it. Whew! Talk about over-packaging!

In Ghana, I was riding a bus ... Don't you hate it when people who've traveled once in their whole lives have to say things like I just wanted to say, which is: In Ghana, I was riding the tro-tro when ...

Tro-tro. Please.

Not to mention, I'm missing a question mark up there. God.

But still, in Ghana, we never ever said "bus." The thing was a "tro-tro," the end, amen. And it was one of two words -- "fu-fu" being the other, as you know if you've been hanging on my every word, which you should be if you know what's good for you -- that I actually remember from Twi, one of the sixty languages spoken in that country.

I used to think that people were just being arrogant when they'd use foreign words when telling a story of their travel. I thought they wanted us to say, "But wait, O Mighty Traveler! O Thou Most Superior One, pray, I beg thee, explain thine use of tro-tro!" Now I think that the use of those words is for the traveler's sake. It reminds her of being there and how fine it was. It makes her tip her head, eyes unfocused, while she remembers and smiles. That one word, tro-tro, was enough to make Ghanaians start pointing or, more likely, take my arm and bring me to the tro-tro and strike a deal with the driver and pick out the best seat for me.
Just "tro-tro." Wow.

So, really, then, when I was riding the tro-tro, we drove by a woman on the dusty roadside drinking a bottle of motor oil. Yes. She was drinking out of one of those thick, black oil bottles with the nice long neck for easing pouring. I have no doubt it was water in the bottle, but still -- what a startling sight. They use everything in Third World countries.

That statement was brought to you by the wide experience of two (2) Third World countries, unless Colombia's one (1), too (2), then make it three (3), Panama being one (1)

I was in Montreal one (1) (sorry) time with a boyfriend. He knew someone who had a cousin who ran a boarding house or some precursor to the B&B. This was in 1974, I think. I wonder how many of you weren't even born then. Jeeze. This is middle-age talk.

Anyway, we stayed there for a night. The next day, we wandered the grounds, looking for the marina we'd been told about. We saw a little girl, maybe five years old. We also saw a broken dock that couldn't have been six feet long in its heyday. Goodness. What if this were the marina? By now, I was used to the idea that not everyone spoke English, so I said, drawing upon my days and days of high school French, "Bonjour."

"Bonjour," she replied shyly.

"Marina, um, ici?"


Wow. Look what I had done. It was very satisfying.

One thing I've really enjoyed about being around non-English-speakers is the great lengths to which we'll both go to get the message across. The whole body in involved in the question and answer. You end up looking like a couple of clumsy mimes, I suppose, but it's really fun. I tried to get water in Fuso, Ghana. A young man approached me when I got off the tro-tro (!). He simply offered his services, in case I needed anything. I did. Water.

His English was better than my Twi, but it still took a while to get water. I said "water" and we ended up at a little store -- like a flea market stall -- that had nothing like water. I then said, "Voltic," which was the brand name of the bottled water. Ah! He brought me to a battery place. I made the gesture of drinking! Oho! He took me to a bar. Happily, an empty Voltic bottle was there (believe me -- it wasn't in the recycling bin; no need for that). I pointed and smiled happily, and he brought me to a place that sold ... WATER. Yay!

I love that stuff.

So now my area rugs are on a shelf in the bedroom instead of in a big evil toxic yucky plastic box. I'm going to offer it to my neighbor, though, who's moving out of this duplex after nine years. Obviously, I don't like her much.

1 comment:

LrdClbrn said...

O good grief.. not Dr. Emoto... sigh. This is the type of huckster that most often pisses me off. I suspect, for the most part, he's harmless, but he sets a precedent and that is NOT cool.