Diary of Confused Conservationist

Page 1

Diary
of
a
Confused
Conservationist

September
5:
Have
volunteered
for
3R
committee
at
work.
Not
sure
what
group
is
 for,
but
noticed
is
headed
by
intriguing
new
personnel
manager.

 
 Sept.
15:
Have
discovered
3R
stands
for
reduce,
reuse,
recycle
(nothing
to
do
with
 rest
and
relaxation,
as
originally
hoped).
Intriguing
new
personnel
manager
is,
 during
his
off‐hours,
a
rabid
environmental
activist
who
has
issues
with
our
 company's
sixteen
dumpsters
in
back
alley.
Saw
him
looking
at
my
take‐out
deli
 salad
container
sadly.
Then
Jane
from
purchasing
sallied
up
and
offered
him
a
 'vegetable
medley'
from
her
organic
garden,
tossed
with
olive
oil
and
locally
sourced
 hazelnuts.

 In
six
years
working
with
Jane,
do
not
recall
being
offered
so
much
as
an
old
carrot
 stick.

 
 Sept.
24:
First
lunch‐hour
meeting
of
3R
committee.
Dutifully
took
sandwich
in
 reusable
plastic
container,
but
this
launched
lengthy
discussion
between
Jane
and
 Simon
(intriguing
new
personnel
manager)
about
potential
hormonal
effects
of
 chemicals
leaching
into
food
from
plastic.
Didn't
know
what
they
were
talking
about,
 so
without
thinking
launched
witticism
about
plastic
being
probable
cause
of
new
 hairs
on
my
upper
lip.

Realized
as
they
both
turned
and
studied
my
girl‐moustache
 that
this
was
not
an
effective
way
to
have
self
seen
in
flattering
light.
 
 Oct.
2:
Saw
Jane
and
Simon
leaving
together
after
work.
Aren't
there
laws
against
 workplace
relationships?
I
am
feeling
harrassed,
even
if
they
aren't.
 
 Oct.
11:
Jane
held
forth
at
coffee
machine
about
the
documentary
she
and
Simon
saw
 last
night.
Forgot
what
I
was
doing
and
grabbed
plastic
stick
to
stir
coffee,
rather
 than
copying
Jane
and
putting
milk
in
cup
first
and
then
pouring
coffee
so
no
stirring
 is
required.
Threw
stick
crossly
towards
garbage,
but
missed
and
it
landed
on
floor
 just
as
Simon
came
in.

He
picked
it
up
and
handed
it
to
me;
wasn't
sure
if
he
 expected
me
to
wash
it
off
and
save
it
for
re‐use
this
afternoon,
so
I
slipped
it
 discreetly
into
pocket
just
in
case.
 Does
Jane
have
nothing
better
to
do
with
her
time
than
devise
low‐footprint
ways
of
 stirring
her
drinks?
 
 Oct.
18:
Cannot
out‐green
Jane,
who
came
to
work
this
morning
in
pumps,
the
heels
 of
which
she
had
re‐soled
with
bits
of
her
old
bicycle
tire.
Fine.
She
and
Simon
were
 made
for
each
other.
I
will
not
think
about
him
any
more.
 
 Oct.
19:
Except
I
believe
he
would
be
happier
with
me.
 
 Oct.
20:
But
he
has
made
his
decision
and
I
shall
let
it
go
at
that.
 
 Oct.
21:
I
wonder
if
he
has
noticed
that
Jane
is
a
little
too
perky
in
the
morning.


Oct.
22:
Decide
that
Simon
has
not
had
the
chance
to
get
to
know
me
properly.
In
the
 spirit
of
giving
it
one
more
shot
I
volunteered
to
be
the
'holistic
holiday'
coordinator
 for
the
company.
Apparently
this
means
I
am
to
dispense
wisdom
about
how
to
 celebrate
the
season
with
as
little
environmental
impact
as
possible.
This
will
give
 me
the
chance
to
display
that
I,
too,
can
not
only
be
green,
but
perky
and
festive.
Just
 not
as
early
in
the
morning
as
Some
People.
 
 Nov.
1:
Sent
around
reminders
that
Christmas
is
two
months
away,
and
employees
 should
consider
gift
shopping
online
to
decrease
their
driving
needs
this
season.
 "But
remember,
don't
over‐buy
‐
reducing
is
the
first
R,"
Jane
chimed
in
(uninvited),
 just
before
pointing
out
that
posting
one
notice
on
the
bulletin
board
would
have
 been
preferable
to
the
copies
I
had
(kindly
and
perkily)
handed
out
to
everyone.

 I
think
I
hate
her,
but
as
that
is
not
a
festive
thought,
I
will
not
record
it
here.
Ooops,
 too
late.
 
 Nov.
15:
In
the
spirit
of
planning
ahead,
am
working
on
the
menu
for
the
Christmas
 after‐work
drinks
party
so
as
to
forestall
last‐minute
panic.
Given
the
amount
of
lead
 time,
I
have
committed
to
making
the
appetizers
at
home
(with
local
ingredients),
 rather
than
relying
on
preassembled,
over‐packaged
processed
treats
from
big
box
 stores.
Am
thinking
for
example
of
making
homemade
salsa
from
heirloom
tomatoes
 (which,
as
it
turns
out,
does
not
refer
to
tomatoes
that
have
been
left
in
the
fridge
for
 so
long
that
they
pass
as
antiques).
 
 Nov.
20:
Have
posted
a
notice
(one)
on
bulletin
board
stating
that
as
no
one
needs
 more
useless
crap
gifts,
our
Secret
Santa
present
exchange
will
this
year
involve
 giving
the
gift
of
a
song
or
story
or
experience,
i.e.
I
will
clean
out
the
lunchroom
 fridge
for
you
(with
baking
soda)
when
it's
your
turn
to
do
it.
People
are
looking
at
 me
with
thinly
disguised
annoyance,
but
I
tell
them
to
embrace
this
opportunity
to
 exercise
their
creative
minds
(v.
holistic
advice).
 
 Dec.
1:
Have
posted
another
notice
(one)
stating
that
if
people
must
buy
new
 electronics
for
Christmas,
to
ensure
old
ones
are
disposed
of
responsibly.
Have
 offered
to
keep
bin
at
my
desk
for
people
to
drop
off
unwanted
computers,
cell
 phones,
rechargeable
batteries,
etc,
for
recycling.
Am
hoping
that
will
give
Simon
 excuse
to
come
by.
 
 Dec.
2:
Bin
is
already
full
of
broken
printers
and
hard
drives.
Have
put
out
two
more
 empty
crates.
That
should
be
enough.
 
 Dec.
3:
Was
not
able
to
access
desk
this
morning,
covered
as
it
was
with
various
 electronics.
Quantity
rather
shocking;
where
does
this
stuff
end
up?

 
 Dec.
4:
Occurs
to
me
rather
belatedly
that
it
is
my
job
to
find
out
where
this
stuff
 ends
up.
So
far
have
been
operating
on
rather
vague
notion
that
I
will
find
proper
 disposal
place
when
time
comes.


Dec.
5:
Was
flipping
through
Yellow
Pages
looking
for
"Toxic
Waste
Pick‐Up
 Services"
(v.
hard
to
find)
when
Jane
popped
into
my
workspace,
which
is
now
 located
in
igloo‐like
structure
composed
solely
of
stacked
electronic
discards
 (couldn't
fit
more
bins
beside
my
desk
as
Fire
Safety
Monitor
said
they
were
 blocking
the
corridor).
"Thought
you
might
need
this,"
Jane
trilled,
dropping
 pamphlet
onto
my
desk
for
the
Encorp
electronics
recycling
depots.
"And
don't
 forget
www.freegeekvancouver.org."

Bemused,
asked
her
why
geeks
were
being
 kept
in
captivity
and
heard
someone
laughing
at
my
igloo
door.
Guess
who
had
 chosen
just
that
moment
to
drop
off
his
batteries.
 
 Dec.
10,
6
p.m.:
With
sense
of
horror
I
discover
that
Christmas
party
is
tomorrow
 (lack
of
calendar/window
in
e‐waste
igloo
means
I
have
not
noticed
passage
of
 days).
Must
finalize
menu.
 
 Dec.
10,
11:58
p.m.:
And
buy
organic
wine.
 
 Dec.
11,
2
a.m.:
Wonder
which
farm
is
currently
producing
heirloom
tomatoes.
Look
 outside
bedroom
window
and
notice
first
snow
falling;
v.
festive.
 
 Dec.
11,
6:30
a.m.:
Up
early
as
much
to
do.
While
I
have
been
taking
public
transit
of
 late
in
effort
to
do
my
part,
I
will
need
car
today
for
shopping,
liquor
pick‐up,
etc.

 
 Dec.
11,
7:45
a.m.:
Have
looked
out
window.
Driveway
and
streets
are
covered
with
 six
inches
of
snow.
Public
transit
required
after
all.
Except
I
have
missed
bus.
 
 Dec.
11,
9:15
a.m.:
Arrive
late
to
work,
in
panic
because
in
talking
to
seatmate
on
bus
 have
discovered
that
local
farms
not
producing
heirloom
tomatoes
in
December.
Or
 basil,
key
ingredient
in
pesto‐brushed
artisan
bread
toasts.
Asked
her
what
the
 farms
would
be
producing.
Apparently
local
produce
on
offer
consists
largely
of
 apples
and
pears.
 
 Dec.
11,
10:30
a.m.:
Use
coffee
break
to
scuff
my
way
through
snow
to
corner
 grocery.
Purchase
large
quantities
of
B.C.
pears
and
Gala
apples.
Remember
original
 plan
to
make
Nanaimo
bars;
no
time
now,
so
buy
twenty‐five
fair‐trade
chocolate
 bars
instead.

 Find
at
cash
desk
that
I
have
not
remembered
to
bring
my
fold‐up
reusable
nylon
 shopping
bags;
removed
them
earlier
from
handy
spot
in
pants
pockets
after
 discovering
they
made
my
hips
look
shockingly
large.

Am
walking
back
into
work
 laden
with
seven
plastic
bags
when
Jane
and
Simon
emerge.
Simon
holds
door
open
 for
me.
He
is
looking
down
with
funny
expression
‐
at
my
disposable
bags?
At
my
 bottom?
Do
hips
look
gigantic
even
without
bags
in
pockets?
 
 Dec.
11,
noon:
Company
courier
has
agreed
to
pick
up
liquor
in
exchange
for
three
of
 the
chocolate
bars.
Is
under
strict
instructions
to
purchase
only
organic
beverages.
 
 Dec.
11,
1
p.m.:
Must
empty
e‐waste
bins
so
I
can
use
them
as
recycling
containers
at


party
tonight
(North
Shore
Recycling
Program
wants
us
to
keep
refundable
cans
and
 bottles
out
of
the
blue
box).
Make
seventeen
trips
to
loading
bay
in
basement
in
 order
to
store
printers,
etc.
Julia
in
next
cubicle
makes
four
trips
as
well,
in
exchange
 for
two
of
the
chocolate
bars.

 Smell
rather
sweaty
as
a
result
of
exertion,
but
will
have
lots
of
time
to
freshen
up
 before
party.
 
 Dec.
11,
1:46
p.m.:
Courier
arrives
back
with
four
cartons
of
drinks.
Good
to
have
 that
sorted.
Give
him
bonus
chocolate
bar.
 
 Dec.
11,
3:30
p.m.:
Tree!
Have
forgotten
all
about
a
tree!
Leave
desk
early
and
bus
to
 nearest
nursery
so
I
can
get
live
Christmas
tree.
Burly
employee
carries
six‐foot
tree
 to
cash
desk
for
me,
grasping
the
trunk
just
above
burlap‐bound
root
ball.
Have
 already
made
purchase
when
I
discover
I
can't
really
lift
it
myself.
Pay
burly
 employee
four
chocolate
bars
to
carry
it
to
bus
stop.
 
 Dec.
11,
4:26
p.m.:
Wrestle
tree
out
of
bus
(driver
not
inclined
to
help,
but
give
him
 chocolate
bar
in
recognition
of
pine
needles
carpeting
floor).
Manage
to
drag
it
as
far
 as
office
building
door
before
burlap
sack
splits.
Leave
tree
in
middle
of
pavement,
 propped
up
by
ancient
shopping
cart
found
in
alley
next
to
building.
Will
decorate
 later.
Must
get
food
ready.
And
get
home
before
party
to
exchange
sodden
work
 clothes
for
fetching,
perky
party
apparel.
 
 Dec.
11,
4:45
p.m.:
Am
madly
coring
and
cutting
up
apples
and
pears
(local).
and
 throwing
chunks
onto
random
platters
found
in
lunchroom
(eschewed
disposable
 plates
and
paper
napkins,
of
course,
but
forgot
to
rent
china/linen
alternative).
 Sprinkle
fruit
with
cinnamon
found
in
packets
at
staff
coffee
station
(not
local,
don't
 bloody
care).
Will
microwave
for
festive
apple‐y
smell
before
serving.
 
 5:10
p.m.:
Have
uncrated
liquor,
only
to
discover
courier
has
purchased
ONLY
 bottles
of
organic
vodka.
Confront
him
in
storage
cupboard,
where
he
is
propped
 against
wall
in
stupor,
having
just
finished
four
chocolate
bars.
Claims
he
was
lured
 away
from
organic
wine/beer
display
by
scantily
clad
marketing
elf
displaying
new
 vodka
product.
"But
she
gave
me
these,"
he
says
blearily,
fingering
ridiculous
felt
 reindeer
antlers
that
are
askew
on
his
head.
I
am
suddenly
in
full
sympathy
with
 mother
of
Jack,
impressionable
lad
who
exchanged
donkey
for
dried
beans
(but
at
 least
they
were
local).


 
 5:18
p.m.:
Ransack
lunchroom
looking
for
things
to
mix
with
vodka
so
as
to
create
 festive
cocktails.
Have
set
up
bar
with
little
bowls
of
orange
juice
crystals,
cucumber
 slices
from
old
lunch
left
in
fridge,
blueberries
from
same,
and
someone's
sea
green
 algae
protein
beverage
(can
be
marketed
as
vodka‐laced
vitality
cocktail
for
the
 health
conscious).
 
 5:19
‐
5:52
p.m.:
Set
out
recycling
bins,
gathered
snow
in
wastebasket
to
serve
as
ice
 bucket
for
vodka
bottles,
and
broke
up
remaining
fair‐trade
chocolate
bars
into
very


small
chunks
(discovered
there
were
only
eleven
left
for
party
as
I
neglected
to
 record
the
three
I
ate
on
the
way
home
from
grocery).
No
time
to
change
as
party
 starts
in
eight
minutes.
Find
tube
of
red
glitter
glue
in
Julia's
desk
and
swirl
it
 through
hair
for
festive
effect.
 
 6:30
p.m.:
Am
watching
Jane
and
Simon
chat
in
corner
over
coffee
mugs
full
of
 organic
wine.
Yes,
wine.
Jane
"just
happened"
to
have
some
in
her
car,
along
with
 artisanal
ale
from
local
brew
pubs
(tarted‐up
beer,
if
you
ask
me).
Feign
gratitude
 for
her
forethoughtfulness,
then
sulk
in
lonely
silence
behind
my
cocktail
bar.
Have
 had
one
person
ask
for
my
Orange
Blueberry
Martini
Surprise,
but
he
cancelled
his
 order
after
discovering
surprise
ingredient
was
Tang.
Do
people
have
no
sense
of
 adventure?
 
 6:35
p.m.:
Decide
to
get
ball
rolling
by
pouring
self
one
of
my
Vitality
Cocktails.
 
 6:40
p.m.:
Finish
last
of
cocktail
whilst
laughing
merrily
to
surrounding
naysayers
 and
exclaiming
over
the
bold,
interesting
flavour
provided
by
sea
green
algae
 ingredient.
 
 6:41
p.m.:
Seek
privacy
in
e‐igloo,
where
I
lie
on
floor
and
try
not
to
throw
up.

 
 6:53
p.m.:
Stagger
out
of
igloo
(after
minutes
spent
unsticking
hair
from
carpet;
 forgot
about
festive
red
glitter
glue).
People
are
starting
to
exchange
their
Secret
 Santa
creations,
a
wretched
collection
of
half‐baked
limericks
and
"I'll
buy
you
a
 coffee"
coupons
hastily
scrawled
at
desk
two
minutes
before
party.
Jane,
however,
 has
composed
funny
lyrics
to
song
for
antler‐headed
courier,
and
sings
them
into
 company
mic
while
undulating
in
clingy
dark
green
organic
bamboo
dress.
People
 start
to
clap
along.
I
forgot
she
is
the
director
of
a
Vancouver
women's
choir.

 
 6:54
p.m.:
I
also
forgot
that
I
am
supposed
to
be
Jane's
Secret
Santa!

Am
stymied
 until
I
remember
plate
of
fruit
that
is
still
sitting
in
lunchroom
microwave.
Wash
out
 jar
of
old
mustard
from
fridge,
and
scrape
into
it
the
pears,
apple
and
cinnamon.
 Sprinkle
on
some
sugar
from
coffee
station,
and
hand‐letter
a
new
label
saying
 "Local
preserves,
from
my
kitchen
to
yours."
Hope
she
doesn't
notice
persistent
 whiff
of
mustard
from
lid.
 
 7:10
‐
8:45
p.m.:
Jane
wouldn't
notice
mustard
if
it
hit
her
over
head.
Is
in
the
middle
 of
dance
party
in
full
swing;
everyone
is
delighted
with
her
wine
and
the
world
 music
CDs
she
keeps
at
her
desk.
She
is
leading
a
conga
line
around
the
water
 cooler;
the
antlers
are
now
perched
on
her
head
(why
does
everything
look
fetching
 when
paired
with
auburn
curls?)
Simon
is
second
in
conga
line
and
singing
along
to
 CD.

 Employees
in
other
corner
are
on
phone
ordering
pizza
from
multinational
 franchise
in
the
next
street.

 Have
accepted
that
I
have
made
a
complete
hash
of
things.
Want
to
go
home.


8:50
p.m.:
Decide
to
escape
under
guise
of
emptying
recycling
bins.
Put
all
the
liquor
 bottles
into
one
container,
accidentally
spilling
leftover
beer
down
my
front,
and
 stagger
down
the
stairs
to
dump
bottles
in
the
underground
for
eventual
transport
 to
depot.
Suddenly
remember
Christmas
tree
is
still
abandoned
outside
on
walk.

 
 8:55
p.m.:
Snow
still
falling
and
the
white‐frosted
tree
leans,
Pisa‐like,
against
the
 shopping
cart.
I
brace
my
elbows
against
the
cart's
handle
and
take
great
gulps
of
 fresh
air,
trying
to
escape
my
aura
of
beer,
sweat,
glue
and
mustard.
Am
wondering
 if
I
can
find
new
job
on
craigslist
by
tomorrow
a.m.
to
avoid
facing
shame
of
botched
 hostessing
duties
when
I
hear
someone
coming
out
of
door
behind
me.

 
 9
p.m.:

Simon.
Obviously
the
very
last
person
I
want
to
see
right
now,
but
he
says
he
 has
something
for
me.
Am
expecting
a
letter
transferring
me
to
Tasmania
branch,
 but
he
opens
his
hand
and
I
look
closer.
It
is
a
photograph,
cut
with
wavy
scissors
 into
the
round
shape
of
a
Christmas
tree
ornament
and
topped
with
a
loop
of
red
 ribbon.
The
photo
is
of
me
building
e‐waste
igloo,
looking
cross
and
disheveled,
 clearly
unaware
of
camera.
I
look
up
at
Simon,
prepared
to
be
indignant.
 "Look
on
the
back,"
he
suggests,
so
I
turn
it
over.

 "To
a
special
woman
who
always
makes
me
laugh,"
it
says
in
green
felt
pen.
I
look
 up,
and
Simon
smiles
down
at
me
and
reads
my
mind.

 "Yes,"
he
says.
"In
a
good
way."
He
leans
closer.
"Merry
Christmas
from
your
Secret
 Santa."

 I
suddenly
decide
that
perhaps
it's
not
necessary
to
find
a
new
job
tonight
after
all.
I
 knock
some
snow
off
the
tree
and
slide
the
ornament
onto
a
branch.
"Thank
you,"
I
 say,
and
find
Simon
studying
the
lopsided
tree
in
bemusement.

 "Do
you
have
a
plan
for
getting
this
home?"
he
asks,
but
then
he
looks
at
me
sporting
 my
hair
glued
together
in
chunks,
beer
spilled
on
my
shirt,
and
chocolate
stains
 around
my
mouth
(neglected
to
record
the
six
squares
of
chocolate
bolted
in
the
 stairwell
in
attempt
to
stave
off
despair)
and
answers
his
own
question.
 He
hoists
the
tree
into
the
shopping
cart
and
looks
at
me.
"Shall
we?"
he
asks,
 starting
to
push
the
rusty
old
cart
through
the
snow.
I
grab
the
front
of
the
cart,
grin
 foolishly,
and
together
we
slip
and
slide
into
the
night.
 
 ***
 
 
 To:
All
Employees
 From:
Jane
Ridgeway,
3R
Committee

 Subject:
Green
Christmas
tips
 Date:
December
1
 
 As
last
year's
Holistic
Holiday
coordinator
is
currently
on
her
honeymoon,
I
am
 pleased
to
offer
you
the
following
tips
for
an
environmentally
friendly
multi‐faith
 holiday
season.
Please
see
me
or
visit
the
North
Shore
Recycling
Program
(NSRP)
 website
at
northshorerecycling.ca
should
you
have
any
questions.


1.
Remember,
wrapping
paper
is
often
adorned
with
non‐recyclable
ribbons
and
foil
 accents,
and
does
not
belong
in
the
municipal
recycling
program.
 2.
Refundable
beverage
containers
should
be
returned
to
a
proper
depot
(see
 www.encorp.ca)
as
the
North
Shore
Recycling
Program
does
not
receive
deposit
 revenue
for
those
containers
left
in
blue
boxes
(and
may
have
to
pay
for
their
 processing).
 3.
The
NSRP
underlines
the
importance
of
compressing
recyclables
at
this
busy
time
 of
year
(i.e.
flattening
boxes,
milk
jugs,
tins,
etc)
so
as
to
minimize
number
of
times
 pick‐up
trucks
must
return
to
depot
for
offloading.

 4.
People
with
large
volumes
of
recyclables
are
encouraged
to
use
the
drop‐off
depot
 at
the
bottom
of
Riverside
Drive.
Please
see
NSRP
website
for
details.
 5.
While
our
company
will
NOT
be
collecting
used
or
defunct
electronics
this
year,
 we
do
encourage
individual
employees
to
ensure
their
home
electronics
are
 properly
reused
or
recycled
through
Encorp
or
www.freegeekvancouver.org.
 6.
Charity
shops,
classified
ads
and
online
sites
such
as
craigslist
are
tremendous
 resources
for
buying
and
selling.

 7.
Christmas
trees
may
be
taken
to
one
of
the
many
non‐profit
chipping
events
on
 the
North
Shore,
or
disposed
of
via
the
curbside
yardwaste
pick‐up.
Please
note
that
 trees
must
be
cut
into
three‐foot
lengths
and
bundled
with
biodegradable
(e.g.
 cotton,
hemp)
string
or
twine
into
bundles
weighing
no
more
than
20kg.