Last night before bath, my son flung many of his broken plastic toys out of their happy cubbies. A barbie leg here, a lonely little purple plastic comb there, and over yonder a lone wheel. I looked at it all lying there and I thought "I could cram it all back in or I could Throw It Away!" Can you guess what I did?
The problem is, I'm very conflicted about throwing things away. Once, my friend N told me she'd thrown away all her tupperware. The quarts of soups, the random square Ikea containers, every last piece of it went into the trash. She looked elated. "It was so liberating!" she told me. I still to this day hope my face didn't betray my panic. Truthfully, I was horrified. "All that garbage!" I thought.
This problem, the "I make too much garbage" problem, is the thing that has kept me from throwing away all those lonely little purple combs that come with the $5.99 dolls at CVS. Because nothing can remind me of how much we, the great cultural we, I mean, throw away as the actual physical act of throwing stuff away. But sometimes, it has to be done, right? Sometimes, you look at the mass of broken wheels and fallen plastic legs, the strange little hats that daddy brings home from work and the empty bright yellow plastic tubes that once contained who knows what -- a bath crayon? a box opener? -- and avoiding our disposable culture simply by not disposing no longer seems like a reasonable option. Yesterday was that time for me. It was crazy, but I threw a whole bunch of that stuff away. And the stuff I didn't? Well, it all went back just where it belongs.