I think going green is great, unless the green is my money, that is going. I also think that’s an understandable concern, but I am trying to train my thinking on money concerns that seem outmoded.
Take, for instance, wasting food, which none of us should be in the habit of doing; if I’m on the road with my children and fast food is virtually our only meal option, I try to be kind to the children and myself if some of that food ends up in a trash barrel at the next rest stop.
I used to hate it when I threw away even fast food, because it just seemed wrong for decent food to get wasted. Then I realized that it wasn’t really wasted, it had never been very decent and was barely fit for a barrel. It was the salt- and fat-laden scraps of a meal we couldn’t finish, probably because of all the salt and fat. The money was spent and nothing short of armed robbery would bring it back. Not only that, but my kids and I don’t order over-the-top amounts of food and sometimes we can’t always finish it.
Nothing we’re throwing away could help someone else and would only reinforce bad eating habits if we tried to force it down. Besides, most fast food has an “oxygen life” of about one hour, and within seconds of exposure to fresh air, begins the “cold-hardening process” of converting itself into rubber with lots of grease poured on. If Henry Ford would have had fast food to work with, he would have never suffered the embarrassment of Fordlandia.
It’s better to part ways with the food before the food parts ways with you, if you get my drift. If you’ve ever read my blog, you might remember that my son once ate curried peas and potatoes then threw up all over his shoes, his suit and the interior of my “new-used” car, as I drove the winding roads to my aunt’s funeral. That was no one’s fault, not even the food’s. Actually, it was my fault after he’d warned me every three minutes for that past half-hour, and I kept telling him he was fine and to just turn the vent toward his face.
But I digress. I think it’s much better to say, “Gee, that fast food sure was a treat, but I’m glad I stopped eating when I did.”
I can’t always be easy-going when it comes to money. Last week, I dangled a waiver and a pen in my teenage son’s face. The waiver stated his understanding that his vintage Matchbox cars would be sold at our next yard sale if he ever again left the garage light on all night. He said nothing, simply took the pen and affixed his signature with the words SIGNED UNDER DURESS next to it. Then, he slipped my pen behind his ear and walked away, whistling.
One day, my daughter tossed the heels from a loaf of bread right into the trash! “You keep throwing away perfectly good food like that, and I’ll make your wedding dress from stitched together Wonder Bread bags. And you know I can’t sew,” I cautioned her. I thought this warning sounded ominous enough, but my daughter just sighed, rolled her eyes, then kissed my cheek and walked away.
I realized two things from writing this essay. First, I sometimes take money too seriously and second, my children sometimes don’t take me seriously at all.