Once in a while, during my forays into the blogosphere, I am left with the feeling that I should write about something more substantial than soap dispensers or gum in the dryer. Substantial may not be the word I really want to use here — certainly elephants are more substantial than, say, a bottle of non-dairy creamer (a topic that I’ve featured twice!) — and, really, most things are more substantial than gum.
The word I should have used is “substantive”, rather than “substantial”. That’s it. I should try to choose more substantial subject matter. Perhaps I could stay away from dedicating whole posts to how many t-shirts my husband owns, the difficulty of choosing the “just right” paint color, or my latest (mis)adventures over at the Ikea. Because, really, who will take me seriously if I don’t start writing pieces with a little more heft to them?
This line of thinking left me thinking and wondering — I suppose it was inevitable — WHAT heftier subject matter I could tackle today. The minute I wrote the word “heft” up there in paragraph two, though, my mind had already begun to wander — also inevitable — to the point where all I could think of were trash bags. I don’t support one brand over the other — I buy whichever is on sale — but “heft” AND “elephants” seems to have led to “Hefty” and “Jumbo”. The combination of these two words has deposited me right at that weird place in my brain that is, apparently, reserved for trash bag-related musings. (I also may have, as you shall see, some issues to get off my chest, which are tangentially related to trash bags!)
So, in lieu of “heftier” subject matter, today I’ll just have to deal with trash bags. Because now I can’t think of anything else. Perhaps tomorrow I can get cracking on something more substantive — like plastic wrap. (Let me tell you something, kids, I have A LOT to say — and very little of it good — about plastic wrap!)
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve noticed — and I’m not proud of this — that I become resentful when I have to purchase trash bags. The week that I have to do this, it bumps my grocery bill up by $15. I could buy a lot of produce for $15. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 worth of that produce would end up, rotten and uneaten, in the bottom of a trash bag days later — or, possibly (and very likely up in this joint), spilling out the top — but still, I’d have had the option of eating the clementines or the kumquats — to say nothing of the ugli fruit or the mango.
It’s not that I enjoy throwing away food. I don’t. It kills me to do it. I’d like to be able to tell you that this is because of all of the starving people in the world. And, on some level it may be, but mainly my aversion to this activity is part and parcel of my very American self-centeredness. That may be unfair. There are probably any number of Americans who are, I’m sure, dedicated to solving the problem of world hunger. I’m just not one of them.
My weekly foray into refrigerator cleaning doesn’t often leave me with a sense of middle-class guilt. You won’t necessarily find me having many “grateful for the availability of cantaloupe melons” or “happy that I had the resources to purchase two pounds of chicken cutlets” kind of moments. Nope. More often my thoughts go something like this: “Two bucks for this damn melon! Three minutes waiting for the old guy to get out of my way in the produce department so that I could buy it! Ten minutes to peel it and cut it up! Five minutes searching for an adequate container to hold it! No one even touched it! And now I’m throwing it away — into a trash bag — a trash bag that also cost top dollar!”
I know. I know. What’s the alternative to purchasing trash bags? Composting? Yeah. I don’t think so. I don’t even want to know what composting involves. I’m not certain, having very limited knowledge of the composting world, but I’d wager organic materials are required. Whenever I hear the word “organic” in the same sentence as garbage, I can’t help but think of manure. No, thank you. I’ll just pony up the cash for the trash bags.
I did receive some startling news regarding trash bags recently. According to Fang, I have been purchasing the “wrong” garbage bags. There we were, in the paper products area of the Target, when he shook (shook! like a crazy person!) a box of something called “force flex” bags at me and pointed out (by tapping loudly and aggressively on the box!) that “THESE are the type of bags that don’t rip — the ones with the little puckery things on them — please buy these from now on, okay?” Well, at least he said “please”!
Once I had overcome the urge to use my own natural “force flex” on Fang’s face, two things occurred to me right there in paper goods: I’d like to meet the genius or team of geniuses who thought up the gussetted trash bag — I think they are just the type of folks who could get to work on manufacturing a broom that doesn’t become separated from it’s handle when one is simply using it to sweep things up — you know, using it as it was designed to be used.
I mean, I could see if I were employing a broom to knock some sense into my clearly deranged husband. I could see the handle becoming, much like Fang, “unglued” — if I were using it in such an “off-label” way. If, however, I’m using a broom to do a little light housework (I try to stay away from anything that would fall into the category of “heavy” housework!), then I really DO NOT understand WHY its two parts WILL NOT remain together.
I’ll tell you another two parts that may not remain together if my husband doesn’t begin to use the good sense that, up to this point in our relationship, he has always employed. Fang really NEEDS to get a grip on reality. This new behavior of carrying on in places like The Home Depot and Target is not only unsettling, it’s downright humiliating.
There is almost nothing that will make you feel like an old loser quite like when you find yourself wandering around Target on a Saturday night. If, however, you don’t feel like a big enough loser whilst doing this, get your husband to admonish you — in public — about trash bags! That ought to do the trick.
To distance myself emotionally from what could have fast become a heated argument, I distracted myself with thoughts about what could be the next “big idea” in can liners? They already have “scented” ones — I don’t think they work all that well, but they are available. I don’t usually buy them. Who knows? Maybe I should. I’ll have to ask Fang whether he is in the scented or the unscented camp. I’m sure he belongs to one or the other. He’s probably given it a lot of thought. Clearly, he’s the one in this relationship who has an understanding of the trash bag industry.
If it were me — if, say, instead of being the sort of woman that people think they can shake a box of trash bags at on a Saturday night at the local Target — if I was not THAT woman, but, instead, if I was the woman who held some swanky job in the upper echelons at one of your larger trash bag conglomerates — I would get on the decorated bag. I would market it with a Lucite trash bin. Then, you could match your bag décor to your kitchen décor. How about that for an idea? Huh?
Maybe, just maybe, this concept would take the world by storm — change the trash bag industry forever, even! Perhaps, on the heels of this stunning success, they would let me — little old me — work on the broom thing. (They wouldn’t have to know that I can’t even be trusted to PURCHASE the correct trash bag, would they?) Now, THAT, my friends, THAT would be something worth writing about, wouldn’t it?
photo credit: garbage can