Sunday, August 22, 2010

Interlude in the former cafeteria.......

All right, finished the book (in my previous post I describe it), and got the birthday out of the way. I'm back in Tucson, and as always happens when I come back, I quickly become malcontent and crabby. Having got that out of the way as well, here I sit in the University of Arizona cafeteria waiting for the library to open.

This used to be a big cafeteria when I was a student here, but has since been turned into a kind of food court with lots of fast food counters. Gone are the displays of soups or the salad bar, the trays, plates, dish bussers and dish washers. I happen to be sitting in front of the "health food" concession, which is ironically called "IQ Smoothies". About 30 freshmen are waiting in line for their bottled water, or their smoothies in covered plastic cups with plastic straws. Many have plastic trays with plastic spoons and plastic fork and plastic knives for their paper (disposable) wrapped, healthy "wraps". And of course, disposable napkins accompany their plastic encased Smoothies with disposable straws.


That's a hell of a lot of oil turned into plastic, and a hell of a lot of trees from some forest somewhere, all in the course of about an hour.

There is a sign that says "Please recycle", and I'm glad they have it. Maybe all that plastic does, kind of, get recycled. Although I suspect a goodly percentage of it ends up in a landfill. And all those trees that come, maybe, from some clear cut forest somewhere to become something a student wipes his hands with and then throws in a trash basket.........what do they become now, since they are no longer a tree making oxygen, and housing birds, somewhere?

What I find myself wondering, confronted by this spectacle, is...........why is the idea of a cafeteria, ceramic cups, trays, and jobs for students as dishwashers.........something so archaic that it is inconceivable ?

And how "convenient" is all of this in the not too distant future? There is, as Al Gore said, a very "inconvenient truth", screaming, screaming, screaming just under the visible surface. I feel sad at this moment, even though I sit in the midst of all this youthful energy and excitement.

4 comments:

Gail said...

You always so eloquently verbolize my discontent.

Valerianna said...

oh dear.... yes, I've always wondered why diner mugs seem to have gone by the wayside...

The Old Creamery in Cummington, Mass stared a cool bag-sewing project and got thousands of cotton bags made by youth and elderly and sewing groups - lots of recycled jeans and old shirts and stuff. They did away with paper bags (had done away with plastic b-4) and now everyone either brings their own, or, if you forget, take one of the sewn bags. If traveling through, then, take the bag, if local, return. They have local artist mugs for beverages and it makes for such a nice cup of tea in locally made art.... not as many break as one would think. Thousands of $$ saved on bags not to mention trees.... but its one store in thousands. Goddess help us. Hard to keep my comments short and sweet here ... ! (or at least short)

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Good post! I think you should move back to New Mexico, where your soul is obviously happy and at home!

Lauren said...

Thanks friends for your thoughts. Truth is, I've been in Tucson for years because of needing to be available to my elderly mother, but I've never been able to find my heart here, although it is a place with many good attributes. I know that when my mother passes I will leave for good. I think we all have places that we're resonant with, and places that we aren't.

Valerianna..........I was at the Cummington community (art colony, alas, now defunct) in 1989.........I love it there, such magical memories. Now there, and Vermont, is a place where my heart led me to, and a goodly piece of it stayed there, always full of longing to return. How fortunate you are! Please give my love to not only Jewell, but to the "spirit of place" you commune with. Many good wishes...........