My husband and I recently returned from a yearly business trip. Each fall we visit a different state while staying in the nicest digs with about 40 other Southern Gentlemen and a scattering of their wives. I know, it is a tough gig but somebody has to do it.
This past September we took in Northern California and the sheer delight of sea lions in their natural best, piled up like couch potatoes from the ocean. The grand sight of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge was suddenly in front of my eyes like a glossy picture springing alive from a page in a book.
And mystic foghorns awoke my imagination as our ferry slowly crossed the icy bay, inching towards infamous Alcatraz Island where their motto was, “Break the rules go to prison, break the prison rules, you go to Alcatraz.” Walking the ‘yard’ and hearing birds squawk over the fast churning water was surreal as the only thing missing, was Clint Eastwood himself.
But, and, with all due respect to the lovely red wood forest, the people living in San Fran row houses overlooking the night bridge reflecting its lights on the twinkling waves below, and my lovely LA PolitiChicks, California is the state, no doubt, where most of the Political Nuts rolled.
No need for offense though, my fellow conservative Californians, because not everyone is guilty by association and the stunning combination of mountains in an ocean view would be hard to resist, until tax time anyway, where California stands at highest in the nation with a base 7.5% sales tax. [Rhode Island-Indiana-Tennessee place second highest at 7.0%, Alaska is the only state with 0. % and Georgia-South Dakota-Utah-Wyoming slide in at 4.0 and 4.5%). Still, every state has its issues with my home topping the list of lunacy. I am from Florida and we all know that if it is strange, stupid, and newsworthy it probably happened here.
The political difference between California and most of the other United States is that they pride themselves on being socially cutting edge. Big problem is Pointed Progressives do not think things through. They are so short sighted by their narcissist need to save the world making them inept at solutions for reality.
No one has a Pollyanna wish for the world more than me (a mean Conservative) starting with save the babies, save the whales, and all the helpless creatures in between. But this is never going to happen. Legislative nonsense is neither a magic wand nor a time capsule but it is costly including time, money and energy.
I chuckle to myself when I see the occasional ‘dumb’ car. I am sure the owner thinks they are scary smart and a cut above me and my Ford truck because they are saving the planet. I would counter point “No, you are not saving the planet but you are driving around in a death trap.”
But these days Californians are all fit to be tied about…plastic bags. Yes, the evil doings of plastic bags have been irritating the do-gooders out West for many years and they do not appreciate dummies like me from Floriduh who does not regard a plastic bag with contempt
I am not going to argue whether plastic bags are good or bad, but they are a part of life. As a conservative woman I recycle my own plastic bags, doubling up their use as lunch bags and dog pooper scoopers just to name a few.
As a tourist to the state of California my husband and I spent thousands of dollars in a weeks’ time, along with the group of fifty or so people we were traveling with. That was a nice chunk of change dropped into their economy and cash flow. I viewed their state with virgin eyes but arrived with a painted picture of what I expected to see. I had to get past the green rolling hills in wine country, because there were none after months of constant drought. But what I was unprepared for was the amount of garbage, dirt, gum, general unkemptness, and bad attitude of the city itself. The entire image I had of California was shaken to its core. I thought this was the “environmental state.” I thought this was the COEXIST state (they certainly have more than their share of bumper stickers insisting on COEXIST and Obama 2012). But the fact that plastic bags in California are considered basic social poison took me a bit to catch on to.
After the second trip to a store where we were not offered a bag for our purchases, I naively went to the end of the checkout lane and started bagging my own groceries to the extreme dissatisfaction of the big and tall bouncer-type cashier. He turned to give me a very irritated and disgusted stare, and then asked in his booming bouncer type voice, “HOW many of those bags do you think you are going to need? “ His abruptness jarred me out of vacation mode, but I did not let on. In consumer mode I continued to bag our groceries, completely clueless that I was really sticking out like a sore thumb. I do not know if it was the mug of President Bush on my tee shirt stating “MISS ME YET?” or my insistence on bagging my groceries was frustrating the cashier more. After I filled one small bag I proceeded to take another, never noticing that by now the whole front half of the grocery store was staring at me like I was a Martian. Then Bouncer Joe/Cashier bellowed, “Do you think two will be enough bags?” OK, at this point I was thinking “What is his problem?” Without verbalizing this I took on my Big Beefy Cashier and said, “I don’t know how many bags we will need. How about you ring it up and we can count how many bags we have at the end. Will that work for you?”
In as unfriendly a voice I have ever heard he reprimanded me. “Bags are bad for the environment. You should only buy these in an emergency. Where are your reusable bags? We sell them right over there.” And then he pointed.
Being that it was only the second day of our trip, I took a deep breath with a conservative pause and said, “No thank you.” I bagged the rest of our items, we paid and left.
Two days later we were preparing for a San Francisco picnic. I waited outside the diner combo market while my husband stood in line to purchase food, drinks and such. Observing the people as they exited I immediately noticed the families juggling armloads of lunch. Napkins were randomly flying in the wind and many dropped things as they walked towards the picnic area. The other thing that nabbed my attention were all of the laminated signs, some stacked three and four high. Every which way I turned there were signs telling us what we could not do, reminding me of the hippie-era song, “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?” It made me wonder if the writer from The Five Man Electrical Band was sitting right there when he wrote those words. I also thought maybe there would not be so much public garbage if the people who lived there utilized garbage bags.
Sure enough after about 15-20 minutes my husband comes walking towards me, balancing lunch in his arms, too. That was it, enough nonsense for me.
As he approached I smiled and said “Did you even ask for a bag?” I laughed at his quick response:
“Are you kidding me?”
I got up. I took the receipt. I took the food and drink. I walked inside to the counter and saw a youngish woman in a dark green apron bending over a display. I said “Excuse me could I please have a bag for my food?”
Well, you would have thought we were on the set of The Exorcist as her head spun around at me like I had lost my mind. She stared at me as if Sarah Palin herself had come from Alaska to ask for a plastic bag, then leaned forward with fury in her confused eyes and spat, “Bags are bad for the environment!”
For the next very long five minutes this young woman lectured me on the evil doings of the plastic bag. As I impatiently listened there was ample time to look at the person who had the chutzpah to berate me, the patron, the paying customer. Not only did she have much to say verbally, over fifty percent of her skin was ranting as well. As she thrashed around in visible anger I was worried she was going to get one of her face piercings caught on something. Studying her as she continued ranting, I noticed that there was only one tattoo lacking on her body–nowhere did she have the word IDIOT engraved. It wasn’t there. I looked. In fact as I was walking away I was tempted to suggest just this, but since I am a conservative I thought better of it.
After I listened to much more than I could stand I asked her, “OK, well my husband sells tractors for a living and landfills are good for business. So, may I please have extra bags?”
Evidently Northern Californians are short on a sense of humor too.
Maybe the DNC for 2016 can down this young cashier and she can present her peers with a speech on the environment and the harmfulness of plastic bags. Heaven knows with all of that colorful skin she would not need a fancy-schmancy convention hat.