How a Small Inconvenience Made Me More Environmentally Friendly

I have been in St. Petersburg for four weeks, and I am too stupid to know how to take out my trash. I’ve been told it requires screaming something into an intercom, but I find screaming undignified, so I have chosen instead to hoard it. There are no doubt those who would argue that hoarding trash is less dignified than screaming into an intercom, but we will have to agree to disagree.

At the moment, I have two bags of trash. The first bag coalesced within the first week. When I realized that I had no dignified way to throw out my trash, it changed my buying habits and, logically, subsequent trash habits. I now have only two bags of trash (the second has taken three weeks [if you do the math you will see that 4−1=3]) and I am eager to see how long the third one takes. Realistically, I think I can stretch it out to anywhere between nine and 40 weeks, but that remains to be seen.

There are many new opportunities hidden within this new life-trajectory, which I will now outline here:


Plastic bottles take up quite a bit of space, so I no longer buy them. The four that I did buy, I decided to refill at the water-dispenser kiosk thing in my neighborhood, and I use a Whole Foods bag to carry them there, which I feel very enlightened and smug about. My wife back in San Francisco may drive a Hybrid Lexus, but I am very much at the front lines of the battle for the environment, and I think I am much better at it, and I tell her so, which she does not care for.


I use a repurposed pickle jar as a vessel for drinking, even though it smells like pickles. I do not mind this for water, as it gives the water a "little something extra," but when it comes to drinking things like pomegranate juice, the "little something extra" is not quite so welcome, so I now only buy beverages that would taste okay with dill and garlic.


Ramen buckets begin to take on an architectural quality when stacked, so I am very careful about which ramen buckets I buy, based entirely on their architectural quality. Big Boy was my go-to brand for many weeks, but I have recently come upon a brand featuring a square bucket. Even though the taste is inferior, I feel that it is worth it architecturally and I am one who enjoys "suffering for his art."


While on the Metro, I find myself thinking thoughts about how I will rid myself of the trash without using the intercom. My most recent thought is that I will find a way to shred it into very small pieces and then use the trick from The Great Escape to create container pockets on the inside of my pants and to then redistribute it surreptitiously in the streets. This, obviously, goes against my deep commitment to ecology, so it will remain theoretical.

As you can see, I am a firm believer in the maxim: "When God gives you trash, hoard it and then create elaborate stupid reasons for why this is a good idea." If you’d like to know more about philosophy, please come visit my Meaning of Life class on Wednesday nights in room 3211. Thank you and good day.

English language fellow