December 13, 2004

My take on Coffee

My story begins a long time ago, when my dad’s side (the Italians) would sit around at family functions sipping on espresso and sharing laughs and stories. To me, coffee was an essential part of life…and today, it is my life.
After trying to sit here this fine Monday morning in an attempt to study for my last exam, I simply could not go on with the pounding headaches and a thirsting body for the liquid brown drug people call ‘coffee’. This week I promised myself I wouldn’t drink one cup, but I can't do me weak.

I really don’t think it’s such a bad thing. People make it out to be such an unhealthy addiction, but come on there are WAAAYY worse things I could be doing to my body right now. 

But then I got to thinking about the act of ‘going for coffee’. Thousands of people around the world have joined this coffee-drinking phenomenon and I think pop culture had a lot to do with it. Think about it: Coffee isn’t just a liquid brown drug; it’s a social ritual.
If we were just looking for a stimulant, there are obviously more powerful options out there. Yet, coffee has the capacity to be used as fuel, pleasure, instant gratification, relaxation, and not to mention, its legal.

Yet, I'm learning after living in Toronto for merely a year, that coffee defines social status. For example, someone seen drinking a Tim Horton’s coffee vs. someone seen with a Starbucks Grande latte are two very different things.

Starbucks has more of an individual value seen through the diversity of blends available, the serve-yourself creams, and sugars, an aura of creativity, etc. which all emphasize that when you buy a starbucks coffee, you’re not just buying a coffee. You’re entering a whole new experience. It’s like an entry into a privileged and sophisticated world (and you can purchase a CD from that world on the way out).

Tim Horton’s on the other hand, is something more for the masses (and construction workers) Rather than concentrating on choice, it concentrates on the familiar (you're options are after all limited to regular, double double etc). 

But in all honesty… I’ve realized that whether I'm drinking a Starbucks or a Timmy's, its not something I need to be seen with in public. I’m just fine sitting here drinking my home brewed cup of coffee… with 2 spoonfuls of sugar.
Just like Mary Poppin’s put it… it helps the medicine go down. ;)

December 12, 2004

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

These are the times of fancier houses and shitty recycling systems…

Many of you may know of, or live in my area of York Region, where the population is growing, and educated people turn a blind eye to the problems with our system. (no doubt, I could dissect every glitch in the system right now, but that’s another blog, another day). I’m talking about the ever-growing waste problem in York Region…simply because no one else appears to care.

I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that among the advanced economies in the world, Canada ranks number two on the ‘Most Wasteful Countries’ list, producing aprox. 675kg of waste per PERSON. Now, I don’t want to bore you with statistics, (because frankly no one cares about the numbers) but I will bring to your attention some facts you don’t hear on a regular basis.

Every other Thursday in my hometown of Newmarket, La Rou’s Recycling does their routine pick-up of blue-boxed items tossed at the curb of (most) residential homes and businesses. No doubt, many residents participate in this recycling system, but what they don’t know is what happens to their recycling after it gets picked up.

York Region has a blue-box capture rate of 79% (not bad), yet only 18% of the waste gets diverted. Why? Hmmm… well if you look closely at your recyclable household products, it should have a label on it from 1-6…
Newmarket only recycles 1’s and 2’s. WTF?

So this adds more waste to the landfills we send our garbage to in Michigan (which like any landfill has a chance of groundwater contamination). But hey, it’s cheaper to just recycle 1’s and 2’s. Wake-up fuckers, it’ s more expensive to ship trash across the border!

What makes it even worse, is that the majority of educated (and not so-educated) people in this town really could care less. Let’s just let the grade fours pick up the garbage around town for us! Out of sight, out of mind.

I have worked at a number of different food services in this town and have seen so much unnecessary waste by both employees and customers. Out of sight, out of mind.

This area is no doubt, populated with many wealthy families who seek a serene and happy life outside of Toronto. The garages are painted, driveways are shoveled and the waste system is out of sight, out of mind… literally. Why should people care? Once their blue box is empty and their garbage has been collected, it’s simply gone…never to be seen again.
But will this still be the case when they plan to open up a landfill in York Region? (and yes, it will inevitably happen).

This will come back to bite us in the ass, and those grade fours will grow up to think for themselves one day, just like me.

They’ll realize that they were taught to clean up after other people, and then socialized in a society that produces and promotes so much unnecessary waste…

…Just like me.
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