Monthly Archives: January 2009

Do you ever get embarrassed?

On Friday, I was happy to hang out with a journalist who is writing a book on plastic and wanted to know what it’s like to try and live plastic-free. So we had lunch together and chatted, and then she followed me to the butcher shop where I take my stainless steel pot to buy chicken for my cats. At some point after I’d handed the butcher my container, she asked if I ever get embarrassed. I guess she was referring to my being the only customer bringing my own container and asking for this kind of special service.

My flippant answer was, “No. Once I turned 40, I stopped being embarrassed.” And while I do believe that with age and experience many of us give up worrying so much about the opinions of strangers, there is always a certain amount of discomfort inherent in being the first to do anything. We want to know we’re not alone. We want to feel assured that someone else has had the same or similar ideas as us and that while our choices may seem odd or eccentric to some, there is a community of others who will support us.

So I put the question to you all. Do you ever get embarrassed? How concerned are you about raised eyebrows or a possible joke at your expense? Do you take it personally? What does your reaction say about you and how you feel about yourself in the world? These are general questions, not necessarily related to plastic or bringing your own bags or containers while shopping. They apply to all social aspects of life. I’d love to know what you think.

Recently, I’ve begun a project, which I’ll write about later, that is thrilling and also the scariest thing I have ever done. And the scary part is all about worrying what others will think. Judgment. Criticism. Fear of failure. And what I realize is that while I don’t get embarrassed about bringing my own containers to stores or carrying a huge box of packing peanuts across town on my bike for recycling or even dressing up as a Brita filter, there are certainly cases in which I fear others’ opinions.

Note: I’ve got simultaneous projects going on and haven’t had time to post here. Hoping to get back in the swing tonight or tomorrow. If you are a Skoy cloth winner, I have your address and will be mailing the cloths tomorrow. Thank to everyone who shared their plastic-free resolutions for the coming year. Kudos to all of you!