WARNING: NOT FOR THOSE EASILY OFFENDED BY COUPLE OF PEPPERY WORDS!
Recently a friend of mine posted a link to an amazing site: beanunfucker.com where I subsequently spent about an hour reading everything, became their Facebook fan, Instagram fan and signed up for their newsletter. Now, I never do this. But these guys are cool. Warning - there is and will be some strong, non-politically correct lingo and I love them for that as well.
There has always been an element of the tree hugger in me and I have always cared about the environment, even before the images of a lonely polar bear on a floating meter square of broken ice started to appear as the symbol of global warming and before all this became kinda “popular”.
Give huge thanks to the (Czech) communist regime of my youth where waste just….wasn’t. We, at times, queued for items (exotic or not) so then we made sure we would eat them, AND the wrapper (kidding). Beer and wine and soft drinks came in glass bottles which were returnable. That’s how we made pocket money - from dad’s empty beer bottles. Milk came in bottles too. Newspapers, cardboard and metal waste were collected and recycled in bulk, and you could make a penny (Crown) or two while doing so. Non-edible food scraps went to the chickens or in the compost heap and needless to say, most seasonal veggies came from the garden. Meat wasn’t eaten daily, because it just….wasn’t. We inherited clothes from our older brothers, sisters, cousins and my grandma made us fancy “Adidas-style” shorts from Russian flags (don’t ask me where she got those flags from, but I am not kidding). Our arses were the most beautifully clad in PE lessons at school.
Then things changed and stuff became stuff and there was plenty of it. Wrapped in plastic, at least twice. And then it was everywhere so we had to do something with it.
I welcomed the sight of recycling containers and bins and happily separated glass, plastic and metal waste and made sure that they were clean. I held myself back from strangling morons who would whinge about having to wash their cans of tuna before they put those in the appropriately coloured bin and those selfish morons who would refuse to recycle altogether.
And then I moved to Cambodia (via roundabouts). From relatively clean Europe I was suddenly ankle deep in plastic because everything comes wrapped in plastic here and people don’t see living amongst it a problem - yet. I witnessed (and still do) people carelessly toss rubbish out of car windows or while walking, old and young alike. I was (and still am) in shock and I know most foreign visitors are as well. But let’s not get into it here - how fucked up Cambodia is rubbish-wise. Let’s talk about unfucking it instead.
So, this beanunfucker.com is all about paying attention to what you do in relation to your environment and slowly, step by step changing your attitude, starting with small baby steps - such as turning your computer off if unattended or having shorter showers - all very valid points. (excuse me while I go and turn off the light in the kitchen because there is nobody there!) None of these actions will limit your lifestyle in any way, so why the fuck not?
While many improvements can still be made on my part, I consider myself a fairly successful unfucker. I separate my recyclables although it may all be a wasted effort considering my location and the available infrastructure here. I cycle almost everywhere. I take short, cold showers and use the amazing invention that the “bum-gun” indeed is instead of toilet paper. I bring my own shopping bags to markets and shops. I refuse to drink from plastic straws. I turn shit off (see above). Most of my clothes and household items are at least second hand. I don’t stuff my face with meat everyday. I put used coffee grind and tea bags into plant pots. On the other hand I am a fucker for having a cat (so some plastic bags are needed for the clean up operations) and I fly on holiday when I can. But at least I recycle my beer cans so that counts, right?
How unfucked are you?
Does it happen to you too?
You walk into your kitchen, with a clear intention and … blank. I bet I am not the only one. Retracing a few steps usually helps, or, in extreme circumstances returning to the point of origin of your thought (if you can remember THAT) should do the trick. Too bad if you have a big house and your kitchen is in the left wing and you find yourself at the bottom of the estate by the pool.
No such problem in my compact size apartment.
Likely, you will look inside your fridge and stare for a while.
Should we blame our memory with holes like Emmental cheese (emMENTAL!) or it is simply because we get distracted by million other things going on in our heads and around our heads? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a convenient combination of both elements with a dash of dizziness, early onset of Alzheimer and dementia. I should not joke about such things, I should focus on what I am doing instead.
Today, when we spend more time online than ever before, we (I think) have taken the “what have I come here for?” (accompanied by vigorous chin scratching) to a new level.
The path to online oblivion and weird and wonderful sites where we had no intention going is a winding one. It leads us away from our intentions and procrastination blossoms. But it’s all so INTERESTING! Exactly. But... I got distracted. Looking for how you call a word that contains another word (like emMENTAL)... It seems that it could be called a Kangaroo word but sites of different origins suggest that it's only a word which carries another word of the same meaning without mixing up any of the letters. Unless you are mental about cheese I don't think it applies. I digress....
How can I suddenly be looking at the list of best 25 countries to live in when I initially started with a reply to an e-mail relating to food photography? Why am I looking at the worst haircuts ever inflicted upon children by their parents or ponder over which 5 vegetables could burn my stomach fat - with no effort or exercise, of course!? Why? Click baiting is the most evil thing on the internet and it takes us away from our intentions. But even as simple task as adding a link to your e-mail can steer you away from your intended direction. It’s suddenly dark outside, your tea is cold and that e-mail is still sitting there, waiting to be finished and sent. And I am still to draft a note to my parers who think I have long ago perished, having been eaten by a crocodile in the jungle. Yes, that's their vision of Cambodia.
Facebook is even worse. It sucks us in and drags us face first (Coincidence? I think not!) through the perfect, wonderful, colourful and successful lives of all our friends, leaving us feeling empty inside, disappointed with our own lack of achievements. Time to remedy that, so you post your bit about the next holiday (guilty), the food you have eaten (guilty), the funny quirks of your cat (guilty), who also has her own facebook page (guilty) and you’re spiralling downward into the black hole fast. Then your friends come online and you chat (guilty), gossip (guilty) and time is running out - the days are short, life is short! It’s even shorter when we spend it online because we slouch, forget to breathe, hide indoors away from fresh air (OK, this one does’t apply to Cambodia) and forget how to interact with human beings.
I have once deleted my Facebook account. Gasp! Yes, for whole 3 months. It was the most refreshing thing I have ever done and I felt free. There were no messages, no annoyingly perfect lives of others and no knowing what was going on until a human friend actually told you face to face or over the phone.
Then I came back. Facebook is an important tool for my photography business and staying connected with the world which is not immediately around me. Lately, it has become more a business tool than a teenage hangout. I don’t know where teenagers hang out because a/ I am not a teenager b/ I wouldn’t want to be and c/ I don’t care.
“I am not on Facebook” still raises eyebrows but I think we are more tolerant to the thought that it all may end one day and we will most likely just get a chip implanted into our brain, never leave our beds, only eat vegetables that make us thin, communicate through thought only and dream of what it would be like to live in one of those amazing places - like Siem Reap for instance.
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.