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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Things that came to mind while I was sitting in the Busan airport reading Wendell Berry and eating trail mix

Something struck me just now. Something about how plastic comes between us. Sure, it’s nice to have a way to keep your carrot sticks clean, your pre-made salad mixing with nothing other than itself. But to the extent that plastic keeps things clean, safe, inside, enveloped, vacuumated, it keeps them independent. This strikes me now as so obvious as to not need saying; this is indeed the very point of it all.

Things in plastic don’t need stewards; they don’t need people. Thus, people who buy things in plastic don’t need people, either. I mean, of course they do, somewhere along the line, but that just means that the only people they need are distant ones, invisible ones. We need people absent.

The effect of me biking to the market so that I can shop for food with no plastic is, unexpectedly, that I wind up meeting people. Chatting with the lady as she scoops out nuts and figs and banana chips. Showing her my odometer as it rolls past 1000km, sharing that little slice of pride, telling her my parents, whom she met one time, are going to enjoy some of what she’s selling me when we hop on a plane and fly to see their parents; maybe grandma and grandpa will try some of it, too. Meeting her daughter, who’s there working for the summer. Realizing that she has a daughter, has a family, is the head of a family, is a member of a family, a person in a family, a person, a person with all the fears and dreams and hopes and frustrations and joys that I’ve got. She wishes me a safe trip, I wish her a nice summer.

Or, I could buy a bag with a cartoon peanut on the front.


Dave said...

You have to admit He is a dashing peanut -- monocle and all.

Dave said...

Also, I'm going to count this as an argument against condoms. USA! USA!

Mike said...

David, you are a true environmentalist! However, if your attraction for Mr. Peanut ever takes hold of you, I do suggest you use some form of protection. It seems to me that any guy who knows how to pull of the monocle look has probably been the block a few times, if you know what I mean.