Drove home and rousted college daughter out of bed and into car on the toe of my boot: NOT eco. Not late for class, but almost.
Brought my lunch to work, consisting of all the stuff I put into two kids’ lunches for the past three days that they refused to eat = half a container of Annie’s bunny crackers, half container of raisins, raw carrots and pea pods (organic!) in a Tupperware without a lid, container of cinnamon organic baby cereal (good snacking). Plus assorted stuff in my desk at work (crackers, hot cocoa mix). VERY eco and NO WASTE (though not super healthful)
Took my coffee to work in a mug= VERY eco (decaf!)
Dropped my car at the auto place to investigate the CHECK ENGINE light (this is the “good” car so we had to deal with it ASAP, as the other car is about to die). Estimate $80. Vehicle maintenance = eco.
Walked halfway to office from car place but got picked up by coworker. VERY eco
Worked like mad dog, as usual. Made deadline, went to meetings, etc. Usual day….until the phone rang from the auto place. My gas cap was slightly loose. They tightened it for me. NO CHARGE. VERY eco (and bonus points for supporting a local business that in turn took care of me when I needed it)
Continued working until 5:05 when I couldn’t find my car keys and realized that — I forgot to pick up my car and they close at 5! Called and begged them not to leave yet.
Grabbed large purse (from Goodwill), canvas bag (replaced briefcase, much more eco), and empty lunch container (reusable!) and ran a mile and a half in gold, sparkly flip-flops ($3 from the Dollar Store, made in China = NOT eco) — Overall balance of this item = eco
Thanked car guy profusely, got into car all sweaty and drove home, changed into another blouse, organized dinner for 3 Teen Grrrls from the pantry, went back out to teach a class at the Adult School. Drove = NOT eco. But extra income necessary to avoid further debt = eco.
Handed out double-sided info materials in class (using recycled or found paper from bin at work, and double printing even though it messed with the copy machine and annoyed my coworkers.) Semi-eco. (Paper = bad. Recycling = good)
Used chalkboard instead of expensive hi-tech computerized overhead projector that I couldn’t figure out. Energy saved! VERY eco!
Taught a roomful of interesting local people how to promote their upcoming events = enjoyable, if not eco
Stopped at local grocery store on way home for milk; did not buy anything except milk (local dairy) and cranberry juice for daughter. Did not buy chips, ice cream or candy. Wanted to, but didn’t. Brought own bag from the car = eco
Came home and wanted to go to bed but Mr Husband (who was out with the Boy and two feral neighborhood kids being semi-raised by very old grandparents, at an Oakland A’s game — for which we were given FREE tickets) was out of shirts for work, so ironed three (to give him a choice) and discreetly listened in on teen conversation in family room = eco
While ironing, discovered that teens (who in another community might be as likely to bash in mailboxes with baseball bats just for fun, if we had that kind of mailboxes and they had a car and a bat) were laughing, drinking water (really), debating the merits of alarm clocks vs the body’s natural rhythms, and — wait for it — doing a giant jigsaw puzzle. The TV was off.
…and then I woke up.
Dinner at last at the computer as everyone goes to bed and I get to eat my long-awaited cold cereal (my favorite dinner)…Priceless.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.