It’s the little things…


Doing laundry makes me turn out my pockets. Turning out my pockets reveals micro-clutter, the scraps that I don’t take the trouble to shift from pant to pant, the dribs and drabs that I unconsciously accrue.

The stuff that truly drives me nuts.

Here’s one culprit: drinking straw wrappers. I am forever finding these rolled pellets of paper about my person. If I don’t catch them before the wash, they emerge as paper mache’ rabbit turds. Or i find them as I’m out walking around, trying to get change out of my pocket. Why is it that they anger me so? Perhaps because they represent a problem that I never seem to be able to solve. I like cold drinks and I like to drink them through a straw. Straws have wrappers that must be removed. One solution is to tear one end of the wrapper and use the rest as a projectile, blowing it at someone else. But I hate to litter. I still feel responsible for the wrapper. The six-year-old’s solution doesn’t work for me. So I pick it up and roll it tight and then look around for some place to dispose of it. In New York, the problem is compounded by the fact that many garbage cans on the street are open mesh types, meaning that I can’t throw something as small at a rolled wrapper in there, because it would just pass through. It’s at that point, while I wait to find an enclosed receptacle, that I often forget that I still have to deal with the wrapper. When my fingers come across it later, I’m annoyed and dissapointed. It’s like finding out that I forgot to pay my phone bill: a responsibility deferred.

Somehow, when it comes to questions like what am I doing with my life, my sang froid remains intact. But when I ask “what am I going to do with this little strip of paper”, I’m trapped in an emotional vortex.

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