Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Recycling became mandatory in the city I raised my children when they were small.  By the time my kids were teens I’d have a hemmorage if I even thought of throwing away an aluminum can.  

We moved to South Africa six years ago, where recycling is relatively  a new concept and optional. Little more that a noble idea, it is also very  inconvenient.  One would have to be wearing a cape, standing on a mountain top to champion the cause.  The nearest recycle center is 3 kilometers away from our house and the road that leads me there is not paved. 

I read my online newspaper today, thinking that when I lived in America I took recycling for granted.  Now there seems to be, in my homeland, a push to go paperless – a paperless society that thinks twice before wiping out a forest of trees.  Besides toilet paper, paper is becoming the new enemy of environmentally responsible folk back home.  I think I can go paperless if I wasn’t expected to include books as paper. I will never, never, never say goodbye to books whose luscious pages I turn with my fingers or whose gorgeous covers beckon me from my bedside table.  I love my kindle, but not like that.  I have a friend-love for my kindle; I have a passionate romance with my books.

I made an appointment today (before we leave for our holiday) to meet with a tutoring company so that I could officially tutor English for a teen daughter of a friend.  I have been tutoring English here for years without getting paid, so to be paid for something I already do sounds good.   I no longer need a map to find the place- I just program it into my GPS.  Even directions now favor paperless habits.

I wrote the address of the tutoring company on a small yellow square of paper that I have grown up calling a post-it.  It is a generic sticky-note, but it is elevated to the brand Post-it for lingual purposes.  Working for years as a teacher, I implemented a system of organization and fluidity of thought given to me by the brilliant Franklin Covey, Inc.  They told us that post-its were a thing of the past – a tool for the weak minded non Jedi’s that couldn't plan properly.  So behind everyone’s backs I would remind myself to “Franklin” something with that valiant piece of paper stationery held to its destination with a re-adherable strip of adhesive.  I’d stick a reminder to myself right on the page and damn it all to hell, it helped me remember something.

Although today they’re  available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, my favorite is still the 3 inch square canary yellow one that says: “HEY!!  Don’t forget me!” as soon as I see it.  It basically has become the most identifiable symbol in my life, similar to a stop sign. 

I think the secret of the Post-it’s popularity is that unique low-tack adhesive that allows me to take the address of the tutoring company from the corner of my computer screen and stick it on my car’s dashboard as I program it in to my GPS.  Once I’ve done it, I can toss the paper with little or no guilt – after all, it’s a stinkin three inch square! 

I know, as I drive off that there is no sticky residue left on my computer screen – there is no sticky residue left on my dashboard.  It is virtually the best adhesive ever invented for its purpose. 

And that’s where my heart is exposed: I love post-it’s because they are convenient, easy to see and can be attached and removed without leaving marks that make me look bad.   


I guess I can live with that.