Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life’s Not-So-Little Contradictions

Spectracide or the Broom?
Simple Green or Toxic Cleaner?

Laser-like, my cat Ella’s eyes focused on the dining room ceiling, where, Egad! a spider the size of Lake Okeechobee sat, probably waiting to creep into my bedroom. So what did I—Miss Organic Flower and Vegetable Gardener—do? Did I reach for the broom and swat that arachnid to Kingdom Come and then sweep it outside? Of course not! I reached for the… drumroll, please: Spectracide.

I don’t mess around with black widows, fire ants, palmetto bugs, fleas, ticks, and other creeping, biting, multiplying insects. Even though this guy was not a black widow, I went for the quick kill.
Well, maybe the kill was not as quick as I would have liked. When faced with a spider, I want instant death, with a weapon similar to those my son uses in video games. Spectracide—and other pesticides, of course—does not induce instant death. I know this. But I’m impatient when spiders lurk. Therefore, I sprayed enough Spectracide on that eight-legged creature to kill about one hundred spiders. And even then, I still had to wait until he had gone on to his next life.

The unfortunate result of my excess kill power was a puddle of Spectracide on the floor in the corner of the dining room. “Got to clean up that mess,” I said to myself. I walked to the kitchen, opened the cabinet, and what did I reach for? Drumroll, please: Simple Green.

 “This makes no sense at all,” I said to myself. “First I douse the floor with poison and then I use Simple Green to clean it up?”
I cleaned up the puddle and tossed the cleaning cloth into the washer for a quick rinse. Ella left the dining room, so I was assured nothing remained for my killing powers. What did remain was my puzzle about the contradictions in my life. Spectracide versus Simple Green is only one of the contradictions I face daily. I won’t punish myself for not reaching for the broom, but maybe next time, I will think about alternatives and choose one of them instead. Maybe I can think about making a choice that goes more with my conscious level of wanting to be Miss Organic Flower and Vegetable Gardener versus my unconscious level of behaving like Miss Let’s Destroy the Earth with Poison.

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