Saturday, 7 October 2017

Oh, you stupid pointless plastic spoon!

I've opened a new anonymous facebook account from which to run my facebook author page. It means I can still enjoy the safe supportive atmosphere of my page but can avoid being bombarded by news and opinions on my personal page.  

My motivation is a desire for freedom. Freedom from all those emotional reactions that inevitably arise whenever I scroll through my feed.

For instance, it's been hard to avoid reading bitter comments about Catalonia. But what's the point of poking the wound by reading about it all the time?  

"It will all come to pass," my  (Catalan and Spanish) father says, sounding more like the Bible than a whatsapp text message.

Two weeks on and I'm doing well in my quieter, happier world. I'm calm. I'm accepting the world as it it. But then a friend takes me for an ice cream and it begins... the first stirring of emotion as she decides to try different flavours and for each flavour the woman serving has to give her a new little plastic spoon.   

It is as it is, I think, as the spoons mount on the counter. At least I can avoid more unnecessary plastic use by being decisive about my choice. I ask for an almond cone.

The woman serves up it up and before I can say anything, she reaches for a spoon and plunges it into my ice cream.

"I don't need it!" I say, but of course it's too late. She takes the spoon out to throw it away. One second of use and that spoon will now last on the planet a few hundred years. "Oh you're going to throw it away now?" I say helplessly. "I was trying not to use so much plastic."

My friend has finally decided on her flavour.

"You don't need to give her a spoon," I say, "she already has three!"

The woman smiles and says she won't. She probably thinks I'm a bore. But after she dishes up the ice cream she reaches for the spoon because it's so automatic. She stops herself just in time but it fills me with gloom thinking how many she must pointlessly dole out each day.

"If only other people were as environmentally conscious as you," the woman says brightly.

It strikes me as such a stupid thing to say. She's not giving people a chance! She's the one automatically reaching for spoons even though people have been successfully eating ice cream from a cone without the need for plastic for over a hundred years!

Later, as I sit on the beach, trying to listen to my friend, my mind keeps wandering to that spoon. Though there are far worse things happening in the world, many that I would have read about during the day had I been on facebook, it was that little pointless plastic spoon that made me lose my inner calm.

Perhaps because it was so simple to solve and yet wouldn't be solved. Perhaps because it was a crime against nature and nature doesn't have a religious or political agenda. It's easier to be on the side of nature than all these megalomaniacs running the world...  

Clearly it's impossible to shut ourselves off from everything that upsets us. But we do have  a choice in how we deal with it. I'm not going to let that spoon ruin the rest of my week - but I would be pleased if anyone reading this made a point of shouting out 'no thank you' to the ice cream server lunging to give you a pointless spoon!!

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1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Having just been in the middle of the Catalonian referendum demos - literally - especially in Girona where the demonstration was peacefully and cheerfully all over the town (although it meant no coffee or ice-cream was available on my birthday) we did manage to buy some ice-cream the previous and the following days because it's so yummy. We kept our spoons. But sometimes the vendor would stick two in quite unnecessarily. I have seen decent wooden spoons (not just spatulas) - just as easy to use as plastic ones. Better still, edible cones so no tubs to toss away and become landfill!