So Michelle and I had the talk about the consumption phase of the project last night, the one I was worrying about yesterday (see If I’m dead tomorrow, you know my wife killed me). But before I get to that I want to add something about the consumption rules that I forgot yesterday.
The idea is that we should empty the apartment of what we don’t use regularly. We’ll leave ourselves with, say, ten outfits each and 20 books each—details yet to be determined. The logic is, if you’ve been consuming for 40 years, not buying any new clothes or books for a year—our main purchases—will hardly be a challenge or a learning experience since all you have to do is dig deeper in the closet. So…
Onto the fight, er, discussion about all this.
Michelle and I sit down on the couch with Isabella in between us and Justin the documentary cameraman recording from off to the side (that's Isabella in the picture, by the way, cuddling her new cousin Logan). I start talking. Michelle listens. I wait nervously for protestations. There aren’t any. Michelle is such a saint to put up with me and this project. But then I mention the no toilet paper rule.
With quite amazing composure considering what I’m suggesting, Michelle asks does toilet paper cause so much harm that we really need to give it up?
By this stage, by the way, the two-year-old Isabella, who is sitting between us on the couch, has had enough of us talking over her head. She starts fussing and screaming, which would be no problem, except that that screaming is all the cameraman can hear. So, to keep her quiet, we have to continue the conversation as though Isabella is the center of it.
In answer to Michelle’s question, I look Isabella in the eyes. I say, “Do you want me to explain to you about whether using toilet paper does harm?”
Isabella nods and says, “Yeah!” And believe it or not, she really listens (pretending that Isabella is the center of the conversation is a great, great technique, by the way, for keeping her quiet, plus it’s so much fun).
Looking at Isabella, I answer
Michelle’s question. “Honestly, I don’t know how much harm toilet paper does,” I said. I do know that we use an alarming amount of paper products in the
Isabella says, “Yeah!” Though Isabella has little idea what we’re talking about, Michelle looks at her as though her endorsement of what I said has influence. Michelle agrees we shouldn’t use non-recycled toilet paper.
Then Michelle asks, looking at Isabella, “Why we can’t we use recycled toilet paper?”
Isabella says, “Yeah!” Then, she laughs.
“I don’t know,” I say to Isabella, her little blue eyes looking up at me. I don’t know what harm recycled toilet paper does or even if it does harm at all. But what I do know is that it is way too complicated for every consumer to figure out whether every product in their homes does damage or does not. So rather than pull our hair out researching every one, why not just figure out what we really need and what we don’t? If we don’t use it, we don’t need the facts. Waste not, screw up the world not.
Michelle says, “What we’re really doing is taking apart our whole life. Instead of just living the way of life we’ve inherited and been told to lead, we’re taking it all apart and seeing how we want to put it back together. It’s not that we’ll never use it again. It’s that we’re doing this year-long experiment in order to decide if we will.”
I’m like, yeah, you get this whole thing better than me. The conversation is over. No fight. Total agreement. Phew! That was a much easier talk than I thought. Now all I have to do is figure out how we’re going to replace the toilet paper. Suggestions?