Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Charge

I have an aunt who doesn't recycle. I know, I know, there's lots of people who don't recycle. And every once in a while I don't recycle either. Like sometimes if I've been carrying around an empty olive jar all weekend camping and there's a trash can right there, I might not recycle. When it comes to this particular aunt of mine not recycling though, I turn into a first-class bully. I used to send her articles about the plastic in the sea between Hawaii and Japan, sometimes I write on her facebook, "Do you recycle yet?" and every time my mom and I talk about her, I only have one question, "Has she started recycling?" Geez, I can be so mean. The truth of the matter is, I pick on her because I can tell she feels bad about it. If she was a total jerk (like someone in this story) and had declared long ago, "I don't recycle and I don't care!" I might have never surfaced the topic.

I have a word I like to use for stuff like my aunt feeling bad about not recycling: "charge." "There's a charge around it for her," I might say. My aunt's not neutral about not recycling and that's what my subconscious mind responds to, then my conscious mind starts thinking of ways (albeit, TOTALLY unproductive ones) to get her to start.  Like if someone called me after I had changed plans with them and said, "Just forget it, it sounds like you're too busy," I could say, "Ok, fine," hang up, then feel awful about being in a fight with my friend. OR, I could say, "I feel like there's a charge around this and I want to clear it." I totally dig that a word that describes physical properties known as positive and negative is SO neutral.

To clear any charge you may have around me being a total recycle bully, I would like to say that I feel super invested in getting my aunt to recycle, because it's the right thing to do and also because, I know her. She's just like me! And there's folks like us out there who really feel better when we always do our best. I know that this particular aunty will be able to relax in a whole new way when she stops feeling bad about not recycling and finally just starts doing the right thing, even though it takes a little longer. I'll also probably feel better when I can quit this whole bully gig.

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