The Final Straw
It’s funny how crazes just happen and then just as suddenly they vanish. When they begin people act like whatever the newest thing is has, in fact, always been a thing. Take straws for example. All of a sudden plastic straws became a point of contempt. Why not all plastic you may wonder? Maybe because that’s too large a scope. They felt that people weren’t ready to give up the convenience of plastic water bottles and plastic food packaging (though farmers markets generally continue to use cardboard crates for strawberries and other fruit). So let’s target straws. Do we even need them? Probably not. We could manage without them. So let’s say those are the worst thing ever. People can certainly change their habits around straw usage. Maybe a boycott against Fiji water or Whole Foods pre-cut melon containers would make a real impact, but straws, that’s something people can really give up. Yeah, let’s say straws are the reason turtles are dying. Let’s ignore climate change. Let’s just dismiss the fact that people throw trash into our oceans. Nope, it isn’t bleached coral reefs that are causing turtles to go extinct, it’s that green plastic straw protruding from your Pink Drink from Starbucks.
So straws have been around for decades upon decades. Why are we just suddenly hearing all of this? Why now?
People will ask you how you could be so ignorant. How they stopped using straws years ago. As if this were a major phenomena years ago. How absurd.
So you buy into the trend. You go onto Amazon and order a set of six aluminium straws with a cleaning bristle. You even prime the order. You can’t risk going even one more day using plastic straws.
You start to wonder what to do with the random straws you keep in a drawer inside their white paper sleeves from times you ordered in food. It seems a lot of people are wondering the same thing...a quick Google search: "What to do with plastic straws" auto-suggests: what to do with plastic straws, used straws, unused straws, and old straws.
Googling "What to do about" yields even more interesting auto-suggestions: constipation, depression, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, anxiety. These are the things people are wondering.
It takes you weeks to really research each of these topics. What to do about anxiety peaks your interest the most. You were already anxious enough before all of this straw stuff.
Time passes and you go out with a friend to get a smoothie. Smoothies are still trending, right?
Your friend is wearing black Lululemon yoga pants and carrying a bag that probably cost her more than your rent. She orders first.
You go up to the counter and order your smoothie contemplating whether or not the $1.50 charge to add almond butter is worth it. The cashier asks for your name and you absentmindedly reply, “Good, how about you?”
He looks at you with the kind of cynical confusion you’d expect from a college student working in a smoothie shop for minimum wage. He doesn’t try to make you feel okay about misspeaking but simply repeats himself. “What name should I call?”
When he does finally call your name, you go up to the counter with your friend to retrieve your smoothies. You reach into your bag and pull out your shiny aluminium straw and put it into the plastic lid of your plastic smoothie cup. Your friend reaches for a plastic straw in its white paper wrapper and looks at you dubiously.
“You’re kidding me right? The turtles are fucking fine.”
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