in my quest to be environmentally friendly and lower my carbon footprint, i save all the paper bags from all the environmentally friendly supermarkets we shop at, namely whole foods and mom’s organic market.
i get so excited about these bags thinking YES. YES I WILL MAKE PAPER BAG FALL FOLIAGE AND MACRAMÉ OUT OF THESE. then i immediately think: no, no i won’t. i’ll buy fake fall foliage from michael’s that’s probably made in china, and macramé, which i just looked up, is actually knitting with knots, which sounds kind of cool, but has nothing to do with paper bags.
no, what i actually think will happen is that i’ll reuse these bags, responsibly and carefully bringing them back to these supermarkets, casually telling the moderately friendly cashier, oh! i actually brought my own bags today so i won’t be needing new ones. i will pretend not to care that she forgets to give me 5 to 10 cents off (depending on the supermarket) for each bag that i brought, because in the end, i’m doing my part to save the environment, right? who needs 1o cents off my bill for each bag i bring? (I DO DAMMIT. LADY GIVE ME MY DISCOUNT.) ahem.
anyway, here’s what actually happens: i forget to bring back the damn bags. and instead bring back MORE paper bags each time i shop. and they pile up in our laundry area until the extra-large non-supermarket paper bag that’s holding them all is actually about to burst. and then, when i can’t possibly fit another one in, i think: oh. i’m actually a paper bag hoarder. and i won’t be satisfied until every last inch of our home is filled with paper bags, so many that i won’t even be able to find my own spouse.
HOLLY! i’ll shout, when this day inevitably arrives, panicked, swimming through the paper bags like it’s a giant, adult-sized, environmentally friendly ball pit. HONEY WHERE ARE YOU. GIVE ME A SIGN THAT YOU CAN HEAR ME.
and i’ll hear a small, soft voice–and crinkling–from somewhere in the house (i won’t know where because the sound is so muffled from all the paper) saying, out of breath from the effort of shouting through piles and piles of densely packed paper bags–honey! over here! i told you. to start. bringing. the bags. back.
i’ll hang my head in shame. except for i can’t even hang it. there’s too many bags. so i’ll just place my chin on a pile and weep. i won’t even have to wipe my eyes because my tears will flow directly into the highly absorbent bags made from 80% post-consumer waste.
OK NO. what actually happens is that i use these bags as recycling receptacles and to bring snacks on long car rides. but unless we start running some sort of after school program, there will never be enough recycling to fill all these bags. and there’s just not enough long car rides. so what’s happened is that i’ve now accumulated (i counted them yesterday)…43 paper bags. FORTY-THREE. PAPER BAGS. who needs that many paper bags? no one! only supermarkets!
my favorite part is that i actually save all these small paper bags. you know, the cute ones? thinking: i’ll pack my lunch in this! yes! i’ll reuse it and pack my organic lunch in it! but no! DUH, i work from home! so i’ll carry something in it, i think. YES! something artisanal. and i will hand whatever it is (dark chocolate, probably, or some kind of sheep’s milk cheese or an annoying IPA beer) to a hipster guy with a beard, who will reuse this little bag until holes begin to form in it and then he and his bearded friends will compost it while wearing fitted plaid shirts to grow, i don’t know, lima beans or pumpkins or something and make aioli out of them.
NO. you know what happens with these little artisanal paper bags? THEY GO IN THE RECYCLING. in fact, i recycle them in the large bags that i fill with all the other recyclables each week. so now i actually have paper bags within paper bags within paper bags (if they’re double bagged, which about half of them are).
PLEASE TELL ME I’M NOT THE ONLY PAPER BAG HOARDER OUT THERE. PLEASE GIVE ME IDEAS OF THINGS TO DO WITH THEM SO I DON’T WIND UP ON THAT TLC SHOW. I DON’T WANT AN INTERVENTION. I’M JUST A FORGETFUL PERSON THAT WANTS TO HELP SAVE THE EARTH. AND DON’T TELL ME TO GET THOSE REUSABLE BAGS. I FORGET TO BRING THEM, TOO. I HAVE LIKE 10 OF THEM, SOME OF WHICH ARE NOW HOLDING PAPER BAGS.