Whenever I feel a little too comfortable in my treehugger social bubble, I need only look as far as my condo complex to give myself a good slap in the face. There are recyclables in the trash…pretty much every time. There is trash in the recycle bin…pretty much every time. The dryers are going full blast when it’s 95 degrees outside, and my downstairs neighbors regularly take 20 minute showers as if the Californian drought were pure fantasy. But today — wow, today was a whole new level of clueless, American entitlement at work.
Here’s the explanation. This family lives on a ground unit with a door that opens out on their covered parking spot, where they keep a big gray truck. To do laundry, they put it in the truck, drive it less than 50 feet down to the laundry room, double park, and leave their engine running while they go put their laundry in. Then they back up to their spot and double park it again. A little later, they drive up again to retrieve the washed and dried laundry. They are neither disabled nor old.
(Feel free to interject “WTF??!” at any point here.)
Kevin had to point out what they were doing because it would never, ever have occurred to me that even the most clueless American would do something so phenomenally…I don’ t even know how to describe it. Lazy? Thoughtless? Self-absorbed? Unsustainable? American?
Unfortunately, I strongly suspect they’re a lot closer to the standard American family than Kevin and I are. It’s not just them; it’s an attitude problem that most of America has. It’s the attitude that I’m free to do whatever is easiest, cheapest, and best for me regardless of the costs to other people, species, and ecosystems. That the long term viability of our resources doesn’t matter in the face of present abundance. That I deserve to be able to do my laundry like a bastard because I can.
This is what the environmental movement is really up against. Be afraid.