I know it has. I have reasons.
Reason 1: My dad died.
I mean, how else do you say it? Some of you got to know my dad through this blog. I could write an entire post on being with him through hospice at my parents’ house in Southern California for all of October and then some. But I haven’t yet. Maybe I will. It’s a little overwhelming. I miss you, Dad.
Reason 2: I’m moving.
To a little town in the Hudson Valley, like so many New Yorkers, it seems. The actual timing of it wasn’t my call but my brother’s, who decided to sell the condo I’ve lived in since 2001. I’d been thinking about transitioning upstate — or elsewhere — for a little while, but I can’t say I would’ve picked now to do it. (See Reason 1 . . . and Reason 3.)
Reason 3: I got a head injury.
AWESOME timing on this one. After my dad’s cancer took him out, I flew back from SoCal to NYC for two weeks and then I went back to SoCal for Thanksgiving. After flying back again to NYC, I went straight to my friend Erica’s 4-year-old’s birthday party, where I briefly partook in riding around their apartment on a hoverboard.
Note that my pace was crazy slow — honestly, the climate is changing faster than I was going — until I tried to get off the thing, wherein I fell straight back like a redwood onto a very hard floor. Lemme tell ya, a “mild” concussion is no fun. It’s been 3 months now, and the headaches are finally gone, but my brain cells are still recovering. Sometimes I go to do something, and discover that I already did it a minute ago, but have literally NO memory of it. Small things. I’d give an example, but I can’t remember.
By the way, when I say “I’m moving,” I don’t mean “I’m going to move”; I mean I’m actually in the process of it, gradually bringing all my stuff upstate. I’m renting a sweet little place from some friends. But right now I’m sitting in the living room of my NYC apartment while the “staging” furniture is being moved out, since the place officially sold a few weeks ago.
And speaking of plastic (because weren’t we?), this is currently happening a few feet from me — play with sound for heightened enjoyment:
Note that he wasn’t even done when I turned the camera off.
I said to the furniture stager, who was sitting opposite me, “They don’t use moving blankets anymore?” To which she replied “Oh, they recycle all that plastic,” and she uses them because they’re a “green” moving company, wherein I just looked at her with semi-sympathy, and said, “Um . . . that’s not recyclable. And even if they were using recyclable materials, China’s not accepting ours anymore, so . . . ” When she asked me where it goes, I replied with a shrug, “Landfills?”
That brings me to my next question, which is: How can I take care of the rest of the world when my own world is breaking apart?
Well, isn’t that the dilemma we all have. Couple that with a strong genetic predisposition for surviving and procreating, but zippo for caring about what happens after we die, and we’re in a pinch.
But back to recycling — or lack thereof — and my new foray into small-town life. One of the things I did when I moved up my first load of furniture was go to the solid waste station for a permit, so I can drop off my trash and recyclables. It was $50 for the sticker, good for rest of the calendar year. When I asked Bruce, the guy behind the desk in the 6’x6′ office (old chairs, space heater . . . ) what I should do with the sticker, since I don’t have a car, he laughed amiably and called the other guy into the office. “She doesn’t have a car!” Then he asked if I was going to the monthly firehouse breakfast that Sunday, to which I answered “Of course!” and he said he’d be cooking the eggs out back, and his wife would be selling the tickets at the door. I asked if I’d get to the meet the town’s mayor, and he said the mayor would be there Saturday setting up tables, but he wasn’t sure about Sunday.
As it happens, I end up sitting next to a really nice couple at the breakfast, of which the husband is the Deputy Mayor — or the Police Commissioner, depending on the day. Bruce from the transfer station swings by and says hi. And soon enough the Mayor comes over and sits down across from me and my pancakes — a big guy who grew up on the street my new place is on — and within 5 or 10 minutes he tells me “We have a recycling problem.”
“You mean China not taking our stuff anymore?” I ask. He nods and tells me it’s good that I’m bringing my stuff to the transfer station, because the recyclables being picked up curbside are just being thrown into landfill with the trash now, since no one wants it.
“Why is the town still having people separate the recyclables, then?” I ask him. “Is it to keep ’em in the habit . . . ?”
“Well, the collection is done by private companies. And we just haven’t figured out what to do yet,” the Mayor tells me.
We sit in silence for a moment. Then I ask, “Hey, are there any compost programs out here? For people to take their food scraps?”
“Nah,” he replies.
Well, now. That sounds like a nice little project for yours truly.
One more thing before I go. As I was heading back down to the city (I have til April 8 to vacate completely), I stopped by the town transfer station with my refuse. On the way, my eye caught some signage I’d noticed before, but hadn’t quite made sense of. “Sundog Cider,” said one large banner strung along a fence, and “Sundog Solar” said another. Solar panels led to a warehouse-like building.
I made a sharp turn onto the dirt road. A metal bridge taking me over a creek had a small sign posted on it that read “Solar-powered hard cider” and “Tastings 12-4 M-F.” It was 3:45.
I happen to love hard cider and solar power — not to mention dogs — and they had all three. Inside, I had a taste of the gingery carbonated beverage from the tap (yum), told them I’d take the owner up on his offer of a tour of the 100% carbon-neutral solar manufacturing plant when I returned, and then I hit the road again in my rental car.
I just might get used to it up here. More to come. Meanwhile, I need your help! Wanna read a book I’m writing? If you subscribe to this blog below, my agent will have an easier time selling it. Comments help, too. 🙂