Like a plastic bag

PD 6455 MAIN I miss plastic bags. They’re banned in Portland. I miss the way they got caught in little whirlwinds on dirty city streets to drift upward from the gutter, spiraling toward a cloudless blue sky with a great soundtrack and . . . oh, wait; that was a scene from American Beauty.

Actual plastic bags are ugly. Actual plastic bags are eternal evil garbage. Bury them and they will not decompose. Plastic bags are Zombie trash out to eat my brains!

 On the other hand, they’re rather handy when walking the dog.

 I’m conflicted. Election season has that effect. It is a time when friends and relatives — so pleasant when posting pictures of cute babies, fabulous vacations and cats, always so many cats — reveal themselves to be crazy rabid scary strangers who I would not wish to sit next to on a plane for even the shortest flight, and here they are right up in my Facebook!

Election seasons are the plastic bags of politics.

There was a time when we thought plastic — bags and other forms – were a wonder. A commercial for Prell shampoo in the 1960s touted its new unbreakable bottles made of plastic.  An actor tossed a bottle of shampoo to another who dropped it and screamed bloody murder expecting skin-slashing shrapnel shards of glass. Good grooming was dangerous back then. “Don’t worry,” said the first actor. “It’s unbreakable!”  My Dad brought home a brand X bottle of shampoo with this in mind. He tossed it to me while I was walking up the basement stairs.  “Catch!” he said. And I did. But not before emitting a skin-slashing-shrapnel-shard-fearing girly scream. Why would my father risk my life in such a manner?  “It’s plastic!” he said. And we both laughed. We repeated the scene on two of my brothers. It must be noted that their screams were no less girly than my own. This was great fun. So next we all said, “Catch!” and tossed the bottle to my sister who, being a cool and sophisticated teenager, stood staring at us with her arms crossed. 

The bottle hit the floor and golden shampoo splattered all over the kitchen Linoleum. What the heck? We were outraged! “That’s false advertising! They lied! And, also, who’s going to clean up this mess?”

So, while picking up the broken bits of plastic, I had the opportunity to read the fine print on the sticky label.  Nowhere did it claim “unbreakable.” It said “shatterproof.” Shatterproof is not the same as unbreakable. See dictionary.

The point is, don’t be tossing plastics or posting political stuff before reading the fine print.  Or better yet, keep grooming and voting habits behind closed doors.

But don’t blame plastics. Plastic can be pretty. See the Eames molded plastic Eiffel side chair above, $349, at DWR  and the componibili container by Kartell, $120, in limited edition red, that can serve as an end table, nightstand or stackable storage at Hive Modern in Portland.  And, below, a durable all-weather planter stand, $359, made of recycled plastic milk jugs sold through By the Yard Oregon in Talent, Oregon. Emphasis on talent!

Vivian McInerny is the managing editor of Oregon Home.

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