Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Featured community question with accompanying supermodel

Today’s featured question from the community comes from user Josie Maran, former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, I am not even joking (you can see for yourself, and then I am going to sit back and watch a flood of teenage boys sign up for the dooce® community):

This isn’t necessarily a direct answer to this question, but something happened earlier this week that sort of coincides with it if I wedge it in there, sit on top of it, and staple the box shut.

One of Katey’s responsibilities as our assistant is to manage all the recycling that goes on in this house, and let me tell you, it is a total recycling party up in here. We’ve got cardboard boxes, plastic containers, and scraps of paper climbing the walls like kudzu, and that there was a shout out to my Southern contingent. KUD. ZU. I remember the first time I referenced kudzu in front of Jon, and he was all, you are totally making that up. And I was all, no, for real. It will eat you up:


(photo credit to The Science House)

The problem is that there isn’t really a recycling program for glass other than these huge dumptsers up the road that say “BROWN GLASS ONLY” or “GREEN GLASS GOES HERE” and I guess they are routinely emptied by the Glass People. Or maybe by magic. I don’t know. I have no idea where that glass goes or who picks it up, but it happens. And that last sentence pretty much looks like my explanation to Leta when she asked how Santa was going to get through the grates we had installed on the top of the chimney to keep out the raccoons. MAGIC! Or maybe he’ll use a screwdriver. His elves have tons of those lying around.

Tangent: Leta and I were at the mall on Sunday and passed this really sad and depressing corner where Santa was sitting, just waiting for the kids to show up, the photographer perched awkwardly on a chair next to him. Except, there were no kids to be found. No line. Nothing. I found myself avoiding eye contact with him to spare him the shame, because it was just so pathetic and I was afraid he’d be able to tell that I was thinking, dude, you’re like a New Kid on the Block who tried to strike out on his own and no one showed up to the CD release party at WalMart.

(frowny face)

(okay, full disclosure: I saw New Kids on the Block in Jackson, Mississippi in 1990. They were HAW-SOME. I had naughty, repent-worthy thoughts about Jordan Knight, baby, I believe in you.)

Instantly Leta seized my leg and tried to climb up my body. Under no circumstances was she going to go near that man, and I kept going, Leta! It’s Santa Claus! And she kept shaking her head, no, no, no, and when I asked why she said, “I think the letter I wrote him will get the job done.”

Seriously, why has no one pitched the show where you stick a dozen neurotic five-year-olds into a room, feed them raw sugar and energy drinks, and arm each one with a sharp fork. I would pay good money to see that half hour.

ANYWAY.

In order to recycle glass here you have to get into your car and burn precious fossil fuel while driving to the dumpster. The irony here is not lost on me, but we go through so much glass that it’s worth that little bit of carbon dioxide. We’ve got beer bottles and pickle jars and pasta jars, and let’s be honest, maybe a bottle of liquor or ten. What can I say. Marlo likes her martinis dirty.

So we collect all the glass in a plastic bin, and when it gets full one of us, usually Katey, will drive it up to the dumpster. And this last time there was so much glass that it was almost overflowing, and she’s trying not to drop any of it because, you know, GLASS. And as she tosses a couple of bottles into the green dumpster some woman pulls up behind her, jumps out of her car and starts yelling at her THAT SHE’S DOING IT WRONG. And holy crap, I thought that only happened on the Internet!

So Katey is all, what? And the woman is going on and on about how she just saw Katey throw a brown glass into the green glass dumpster, doesn’t she know? THE FATE OF THE EARTH DEPENDS ON THAT COLOR CODE. And Katey goes, no, pretty sure that was a dark green bottle, and the woman will have none of it. So Katey finally goes, FIRST OF ALL, I’M RECYCLING. And as Katey is telling me this story she and I simultaneously yell out, SECOND OF ALL, THERE IS NO SECOND OF ALL. I’M RECYCLING.

Seriously, someone getting all up in someone else’s business because they aren’t recycling the right way. IN REAL LIFE. It wasn’t even an anonymous comment! It’s like, I’m sorry, but the phenomenally generous check you just wrote to our children’s foundation is nice, but your penmanship really sucks. You’re going to have to write us another one, you turd.

  • joanne3482

    OMG! Now I know where the crazy lady who lived in my building went off to… Utah! We had a woman in my apt building who was perpetually going through the recycling bins and moving things about. She’d leave passive aggressive notes about how recycling SHOULD be done like “No Lids” “This bin is for cardboard only” and “Flatten boxes.” I always would think, at least I’m recycling and not just buying black trashbags to hide that I am not doing so. (In Seattle it is a requirement and the garbage men can not pick your trash up if you continually leave recyclables in the trash can)

  • Josie Maran

    Green Grinches suck! I think it’s a real problem with ‘liberals’ (see Healthcare Reform) where we tear our own movements apart from the inside. Oh well.

    But alas, I suck too – at dancing. (thank you commenter #12 for the sweet reminder.) And although I do appreciate the Hoover reference, I quite prefer Dyson. I mean, not only does it suck, but a Dyson’s got a big fat ball in it. If you’re going to suck something it’s always more fun if there’s ball(s) involved! 🙂

    Regardless, recycle anyway. Dance anyway. Life is beautiful and the earth is, too. Let’s keep it that way!

  • sherewin

    We have curbside recycling where I live, but if they see that the recycling is incorrectly mixed, they toss it all in the dumpster. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s heartbreaking. Evidently they don’t have staff to sort recycling so it has to be well sorted when it comes in or it goes to a landfill.

  • raupe

    “Almost-Swiss” here, from Germany.

    I agree with those who said that if it is worth it to recycle, it’s worth it to recycle right.

    The irony: Katey was doing the right thing tossing that “dubious” bottle into the green glass, whether it actually was brown or green. Why? Green glass is the variety that is the most “forgiving”:
    You can put up to 15 % non-green glass in there and it will still turn out green.

    White and brown are much more tricky.

  • Aimee Lori

    I read that entire thing and all I could think was HOLY SHIT, I WAS AT THAT NEW KIDS CONCERT TOO!!!

  • Krista Marie

    I live in a small town outside of Toronto and they actually take away our recycling more often then our garbage! You have to recycle and compost here or else you end up with way too much smelly garbage sitting around for two weeks. It is actually a pretty effective way to get most people to recycle.

  • d3 voiceworks

    please send this piece to salt lake county. or i can. it is a very large mystery about whether that glass is recycled at all. we’ve given up on recycling glass because we. are. dubious.

    and whattup with the lazy asses who leave their cardboard boxes (used to collect their glass at home and transport for recycling) when they can simply put that recyclable cardboard in the, i dunno, dumpster designated for such? the one next to the dumpster for glass?

  • Mandy

    In Australia our recycling bins are taken every week and we can put it all in together which makes it easy for an all talk no action girl like myself.

    I used to be a bit lazy and put in all sorts of plastic…until we got a ‘reminder’ about the types of plastic they don’t take. I didn’t realise that if the recycling is ‘contaminated’ by the wrong materials, the whole bin goes the way of the usual rubbish (landfill). Maybe it’s the same thing with the glass? It’s not just a case of colour but maybe the components that make it that colour would contaminate the bin so they can’t recycle it?

    Anyway, Kate has a very honest face so I have no doubt it was a dark green bottle.

  • lifewithkids

    My Gosh people are annoying sometimes.

  • Summerfred

    People these days! Apparently a good deed does actually go noticed… and scolded!

  • brooke

    i completely DISAGREE! i say lock her up and throw away the key. we don’t need any more color blind, glass terrorists, vigilante recycling hooligans roaming the streets. your kids aren’t safe as long as katey is a free woman.

    DOWN WITH KATEY!

  • leafgirl

    Ok in all fairness I did recently go on a small rant because as I was dropping of paper in the paper bin, I noticed that someone had thrown in a huge pile of newspapers still in the plastic bag. I just remember stories of how the recycling project at my dad’s school had to be canceled because people kept putting non-recyclable stuff in it. So I grabbed all the ones I could reach and took the plastic off of them.

    But I would think glass is glass…and I would never tell someone to their face they were doing something wrong. I would just rant to co-workers later.

  • jekka888

    I’m an Army wife living in Germany and believe me, you have never SEEN such recycling. Every village has a recycling center, and on post we have about 11 places for your run of the mill plastic, paper, aluminum and colored glass…but we also have places for batteries, styrofoam, electronic parts, etc. How is it that WE haven’t figured out how to recycle styrofoam??

  • BOSSY

    Bossy fears the clang clang clangclangclang of her many wine bottles hitting the recycling center bins. She’s afraid her small town neighbors, within proximity of the recycling center, will think it’s the first sign of the apocalypse.

    So Bossy sends her husband instead.

  • Christy shulman

    Holy Biscuits, I was at that very same New Kids concert in Jackson in 1990.

  • Princess Leah – not Peah

    OMG – this totally happened to me once! We now have (finally) a city wide recycling program so it gets picked up every week. But prior to this, when we lived in an apartment, we had to drive all of our recyleables to the big green bins.

    During one such trip we had maybe 12 beer bottles, and so instead of driving over to the bottle depot for a refund of less than $2 we brought them along to throw in the glass bin. A lady yelled at me that I couldn’t do that. I looked at her and asked why because glass goes into the glass bin. She told me very indignantly that I was supposed to return them to the bottle depot. I told her I wasn’t too concerned about the dollar I would’ve gotten back and continued to throw all twelve bottles into the bin. You could tell I was making her skin crawl. I enjoyed it. 😀

  • MichelleD

    I’ll admit to giving “advice” about recycling but only to uber-recyclers that tried to throw everything in the recycling bins whether the city accepted it or not(these people re-used pasta water to water plants. No, I’m not joking). What they didn’t get is that they were actually doing more harm since plastic bags get stuck in the machines and had to be picked out by the special people that work in the recycling plant and the yogurt cups and lids also had to get picked out and then were thrown in the trash anyway!

    Note: I’m lucky in that in Portland recycling is generally easy.

  • playrawkstar

    that sounds like a regular day in san francisco. i, apparently, live life entirely wrong according to san franciso hipster code.

  • lacrema

    OK, first of all, LOL like crazy. Second, KUDZU WILL EAT YOU. You know what they say… Move fast or it eats your ass.

  • katie o.

    Umm, yeah, I think I was at that concert.

  • strick52

    Oh, Salt Lake, how I love you & your crazy recycling laws. We just recycle by brewing our own beer and filling them back up. And kudzu…it is great to read about another transplanted southerner who appreciates all the not-finer things of life. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Jenni

    I am a Kentucky girl. Kudzu all over the place. I especially like it when they work the word into a song.

  • love.in.the.mountains

    I was unaware that kudzu was a southern thing…I think I need to travel more. When I was a kid I called it “suzuki” for some reason.

  • DisposableWombat

    I assume you are using the Recycle location next to Hogle Zoo. It is possible to get local pickup of Glass Recycling. (Yes…it costs a few bucks.) I have friends on Elizabeth street – within a few miles of the Kingdom of Dooce – who take advantage of this service. Want details?

  • caidid

    We have had curbside recycling in Boston for years now, but you used to have to separate the paper and cardboard from the glass and plastic. Just this past year, though, we got Single Stream Recycling! They gave everyone a giant bin (and I mean GIANT–any two people I know could fit comfortably inside leaving room for the Holy Ghost in between them) and you just throw everything in that one bin and put it out on Monday nights–paper, plastic, glass of any color, cardboard–and…I don’t know. Presumably someone sorts it all out on the other end.

  • Robyn L

    First of all, I LOVE your mom (re: Momversation. LOVE. HER.)

    Second? Oh my god. I am a Katey. I thought my boss hired me to do assistant stuff, but I am now the office recycler.

  • Lilliah

    1. @ #7. littlewords – Uptight Seattle is right 😉 My apartment in Queen Anne still requires us to separate glass from plastic etc etc. I’m moving to Vegas sometime this year, and I’m going to mix my shit up there!

    2. Heather, did you know Kudzu is sold in tablets and taken for alcoholism, or to ween oneself from drinking so much? I work for an herbal company that sells it by itself and in a formula, and we’ve had people tell us they stopped taking it because they just wanted to cut back, and it made them not want to drink AT ALL. I’ve, uh, never tried it, myself..

    3. I was pretty much despised by half of my 9th grade class in 1989 (well the female half, at least) because I regularly wore a black t-shirt that said “THE NEW KIDS SUCK” in big white letters. I felt super cool every time I wore it, though 🙂

  • John Duke

    Umm, that’s what happens when you live in the bubble called Utah. But I’m glad you recycle.

  • msjo

    Well, I appreciate the effort to recycle! If people didn’t recycle their gallon wine jugs, I would not be able to pull them out to bottle my home made wine. Keep up the good work! (And yeah, I recycle all my other bottles too, but, seriously, confronting someone else? Especially at the recycle bin? Would not a humorously oriented question have elicited the same information (or education) without offending the possible unwitting offender? (If, indeed, they had actually offended?)

  • Sam

    As a child, I was told Santa could shrink himself down to any size, which is how he got through our completely bricked-up fake chimney. In fact, there was some Christmas cartoon where he put his finger on his nose and winked. I’m sure you can find it for Leta on YouTube.

    Also, Lillah: ingesting kudzu intentionally sounds like a horror story waiting to happen. Like turning into a kudzu creature. I’d imagine that would be the reason people would stop drinking, because they were suddenly leaf entities.

  • blytheswideshut

    Turns out it’s not safe to walk around the mall in your Santa costume:

    http://southern-star.whereilive.com.au/news/story/thugs-attack-santa/

  • craftyfarmgirl.com

    I have been assaulted by the Recycling Police in Jackson, WY as well. Like this could possibly matter in the Grand Scheme of Things? Brown glass in the green glass bin?????

  • barbara

    Recycling was mandatory when i lived in NJ. They made it so easy-you just put everything in a bucket they gave you, put in on your curb, and they did the sorting. In Florida, we have to drive to a recycling center that’s 20 minutes away and sort everything like you guys do. Needless to say, not too many people recycle.

  • mediumcrazy

    SERIOUSLY. It’s like putting all your groceries in fabric grocery bags and then getting yelled at because you bought non free range eggs. It’s like donating a big bag of clothes and getting yelled at because you donated Uggs and those aren’t really in style any more. It’s like buying a BPA free water bottle so you stop using plastic water bottles and then getting yelled at because you have a bad haircut.

  • mississippimommy

    OH MY GOSH I was at that NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK concert too!! My older sister took me for my birthday. It was my first concert to ever attend (excluding the Oak Ridge Boys my parents dragged me to earlier that year…oh it was bad!!)

  • Amy G

    Sadly, it’s just the way of the world that there exist people out there who MUST HAVE something to bitch about at all times. I’m with you and Katey on this, SHE WAS RECYCLING. Back off, anonymous crab-ass lady!!

  • Monday
  • kbdyar

    So my mom decided my dad got the right to name their dog, and he named it… ‘KUDZU” – why would you name a dog after that??? Luckily they call her Zuey but seriously? He is no longer allowed to name anything.

  • Fran Peacock

    I was at that New Kids on the Block concert in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1990 too! TOO. COOL.

  • Melanie McGhee

    Loose association…have you seen the book, “The Truth About Santa”? AWESOME!

  • oatcake

    Dude. Daily occurrence back in Korea. I had to SNEAK OUT to recycle in the middle of the night there, or have cat poop thrown at me. I mean seriously. See:

    http://oatcakephotography.wordpress.com/page/5/