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.