I’m quite compulsive about recycling, so I findn it hard when I travel. I simply hate throwing apple and banana skins into the waste bin–going to a landfill instead of fertilizing the soil–so there’ve been many occasions when I’ve sneaked out of the motel to tuck our scraps under a bush. Second best is flushing: that’s what I do with coffee grounds.

But this compulsion got me into one of the most embarrassing experiences of my whole life. We were living, early one spring, in a B&B here in Great Barrington, in between a rental house and the house we bought. We had a kitchenette so we were cooking a little, and I routinely flushed our kitchen scraps. Until the toilet got blocked up. The B&B owner tried everything, without success, and after two days he said he would have to take it apart, looking very unhappy. I’m sure he thought I’d been very bad and flushed some female product.

What he eventually surfaced with, to his surprise and my total chagrin, was a fairly substantial piece of raw cauliflower!

Other embarrassing eco-obsession stories will be gratefull received.

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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