September 2007

Ah, parity! A struggle, spanning three decades – and one which no-one south of the border was probably even aware of, finally sees the Canadian loonie on an equal footing with the US greenback. Up north, however, it feels like Canada has finally won a round of Monopoly, and there’d be a big street party to celebrate – if it wasn’t for the rain. But hey, we can all nip over the border and buy cheap stuff even more cheaply. We’d have to, as retailers here (and who can blame them?) aren’t budging on the cover prices for items such as books and magazines, which display a much lower US$ price than is – today – realistic. Is that why there are so many more “for sale” bins at Starbucks these days, for all those mugs and candies and cuddly toys with last season’s ticket prices?

Once in a while it’s ok to do something a-typical, like substitute coffee for a cola, but my, doesn’t it scrub the enamel? Today I just needed something to keep my fingers on the keyboard (they seemed to have lost their will to type) without brewing yet another pot. It’s not so much the caffeine I’m craving, but a reason to get up and leave the laptop to its own devices – and maybe come back and find everything magically organized, typed up and done for the day. I love my work, I really do, but today I’m finding it a wee bit difficult to shift the mounds of paper that have somehow erupted all over my desk and it’s not like I can just grab my laptop and escape, as I made this daft promise to myself to avoid out-of-office offices (read: internet cafés, coffee shops) on Vancouver’s 50th day of garbage strikes at all costs. 

Much like my paperwork, those mountains of disposable coffee cups are really starting to mar the picture of an ~ apparently environmentally-caring nation. Those non-recyclable nor compostable single-use cups really define the society that we proudly call ours. Except I’m ok, I only drink iced coffee, and those cups are, uhm, recyclable. And Starbucks is ok, as their cups are made from recycled materials, and the lids are recyclable. And other coffee outlets are ok, as they have to-stay or reusable cups (formerly known simply as “cups” or “mugs”). (This, by the way, does not count if you drink from a reusable cup and also take a non-biodegradable one to “roll-up-the-rim”!) But everyone who brings a travel mug is just fine, too, especially as they’ll likely get a discounted shot to incentivize homemade washing-up. And everyone who just stays put languishing in front of a computer is just fine, too. So we can just go on as before, believing the hype and giving ourselves a satisfied pat on the back.