The Wasteful People

Although our individual impact on the earth is still too large, Charlie and I have taken a lot of measures to reduce it. We’ve stopped using paper products other than the absolute necessity (you know what I mean). We’ve switched to all-fluorescent light bulbs. We don’t drive any more than necessary and we drive high mpg vehicles. We try to make the least amount of trips possible while still patronizing local businesses if we can afford their goods. We use only environmentally-friendly cleaning products and reusable mop heads. To name a few things.

The couple that bought the house across the street from us about a year ago are our polar opposites. I think, sometimes, that they have absolutely no consideration for the amount of water, electricity, and gas they consume. They each own a large, gas-guzzling SUV. He comes home for lunch almost every day, but for short periods of time, leaving me to assume he works on a different side of town. She burns the lights 24 hours a day throughout the house — one would assume, to deter would-be burglars and rapists. I once watched her power-wash their tiny sidewalk for – and I am not exaggerating in the least bit here – for four hours. Mind you, this was at the worst point in the summer, when we were in the midst of a water shortage and every local newspaper and media outlet was calling for people to please, please, please conserve water.

Did they also water their lawn at the hottest, brightest point in the day during that drought, you ask? Why, yes! They did!

When I left after work this morning to get cat food, dog food, eye wash for Trinity, and toilet paper, the wife was vacuuming out her car. When I got home almost an hour later, she was still working on it. I went in the house, put things away, did the dishes, swept up, played with the dogs, started watching Sleepy Hollow, ate lunch, and came outside to clean up the porch. She’s still at it. My best estimate is that she’s been doing this for three hours.

They also have an industrial-strength snowblower which they use every time it snows, no matter how much. Charlie and I looked at this house when it was for sale because it was in a price range that wasn’t completely outrageous for us. It’s small. It has small rooms, a tiny driveway, a minuscule front walk to the sidewalk, a little patch of grass in the front, and a slightly larger one in the fenced backyard.
Yet this couple owns every possible electric or gas-powered device you could conceive of wanting when you own a home. The snowblower, a gas lawnmower, a giant gas weed whacker, an electric hedge trimmer. This afternoon I watched her use a Dyson – a DYSON! – to sweep out her SUV for all those hours.

I don’t really have anything prolific to add (clearly I’m just passing judgment and feeling holier-than-they), or anything else to say other than how wasteful, oblivious, and possibly obsessive-compulsive this woman is. I’ve never seen her do anything half-assed, which might be a trait she’s proud of, but during her frenzied cleaning bouts, she no doubt uses enough non-renewable energy for three other people.

Oh. FYI, she just pulled out one SUV and backed the other into the driveway and has started vacuuming it.


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