I used to buck the enviro-responsibility trend with gusto: “If God wanted me to recycle, he’d send me a magic sorting hat like the one in Harry Potter,” I’d say, delighting in my friends’ disgust. For years I saw organics as a brilliant marketing ploy, duping suckers into spending twice as much money on the same items. “Ooh,” I pictured the chumps thinking, “six-dollar blueberries must be twice as good as three-dollar blueberries.”
After living in the Pacific Northwest for four years (two clumps of granola on the hippie equivalent of the Zagat scale) and joining a Waldorf-inspired, parent-participation preschool community in San Francisco (three clumps), I’ve noticed a steady creep in my sensibilities.
I still like to think of myself as a yuppie, but the root-bearing head of “organic living butter lettuce” that I bought the other day—”It’s really fresh! Ready for you to harvest!”—indicates otherwise. As do my zealous co-sleeping and constant baby-wearing.
Intense scientific scrutiny of my behavior over the years (or thinking about it in the shower one day, one or the other) reveals a five-step progression:
Step 1. Make fun of something other people are doing. (“Grass-fed, pasture-raised beef? Are you fucking serious? Are we denying cows any other essential rights? What thread count are their sheets? Were they provided adequate educational opportunity?”)
Step 2. Start to feel bad for not doing it. (“Gah. I really should be using stainless steel storage containers for school lunches, but Ziploc bags are so much easier, and I am really stressed right now.”)
Step 3. Do it. (“Hmm, I’ve got this empty Cheerios box. Should I recycle it or repurpose it? I could cover it in computer paper and let the kids decorate it to upcycle a gift box. Don’t want to waste even more trees though. Maybe I should just reuse it to store my felt scraps.”)
Step 4. Forget that I ever didn’t do it. (“White rice cakes made with cheddar cheese dust? How could anyone put that kind of chemical-laden garbage in their body? They don’t even have kale or miso flakes or anything.”)
Step 5. Proselytize. (“I know eight dollars for a roasted almond, sea salt chocolate bar sounds like a lot, but it’s organic. The salt is scraped off the hulls of local fishing vessels, the almonds are grown with gray water, and the cocoa is harvested using fair wage labor. It’s basically a bargain.”)
Although, come to think of it, my decisions to join a sorority and start getting Brazilian bikini waxes followed the pattern. Same for texting, Greek yogurt, and Yale alums. I go from laugh at it to swear by it like Bruce transitioning to Caitlyn: slowly, but completely.
It makes me wonder, which of the things I currently mock will I soon be unable to live without? Hipster granny panties? Ultimate frisbee? Hypnobirthing? Camping? Kefir? Facial hair? I can never be completely sure.
The whole thing is utterly ridiculous. You should try it!