It’s not Easy Being Green; or Yellow, or red

Hi F&F,

I watch the news. I saw An Inconvenient Truth. I know about global warming.   I understand that I am a renter on planet earth and I want to be a good tenant. I’m trying to do my part to leave these digs in good shape for the next tenants. Also, whenever I vacate these premises, I hope to impress the landlord enough to ensure a room with a good view in that mansion I’ve heard so much about (preferably overlooking the beach).

Just call me Cinderella; trying to squeeze my size 8 carbon footprint into a size 5 recycled glass slipper. I dutifully decline paper or plastic at the market; in favor of the tote bags I’ve collected from every job fair, conference or convention I’ve attended.  I don’t take offense when the cashier gives me the evil eye as I roll a dozen oranges towards her on the checkout conveyor belt. I understand that she would prefer me to corral my produce in a plastic bag, but oranges, potatoes and bananas are already well packaged by nature.  I refuse to double bag.  Also, on the mornings I’m feeling particularly monastic, I modify my morning ablutions. Instead of an extravagant baptismal soak; I opt for a christening. I do the wet, lather, rinse routine; turning the  shower faucet off between each cycle.

I’m doing okay in most areas of conservation; except for one; my electricity consumption. Every pamphlet, article and public service announcement talks about the virtues of using compact fluorescent light bulbs. I can switch off unnecessary lights, but using fluorescent light bulbs has been a stumbling block for me.

Firstly, those fluorescent bulbs are a lot more expensive than the regular incandescent bulbs. I understand that they are supposed to use less energy and last 10 times longer than standard light bulbs, but I’ve never been good at the “new math”. It’s hard for me to work that out in my head when I’m in the store.  When I’m faced with one light bulb for $6.00 and four light bulbs for $3.00; the latter usually wins the day.   Secondly, back in the days when caring for the earth was called the ecology movement; my Mom purchased those bulbs.  For months we looked like a family of zombies; ashy and yellow (yuck); not our usual coco caramel brown selves (yum).

Recently a leading consumer magazine recommended a brand of efficient light bulbs. I trust the periodical and bought some of the bulbs. I just had the chance to use them this week when 2 of the 3 light bulbs over my bathroom sink went out. They worked fine; or at least I thought they did.  I learned otherwise once I left my home. I was running errands and ended up in a large department store.  The store has large mirrors situated throughout. I got a shock when I saw my reflection in one of the mirrors.  I looked like a cheap hooker (the “R” rate description) or a clown (the “G” rated description). My checks were so overly rouged they looked like 2 stop signs on my face.  My cheeks looked hot; and not in the good way.  So, I hot footed it home; avoiding making eye contact with people and small animals (a surprisingly easy thing to do in New York).

Back home in my bathroom where I applied my makeup; my face looked fine. In the world; I looked freakish. I then looked at my hands and noticed a slight yellow/green tint to my skin.  I didn’t pick up on it on my face in the morning but, perhaps I applied extra blush to counteract the effects of the lighting.

Bottom line; the compact fluorescent light bulbs screwed with my look; so I unscrewed the compact fluorescent light bulbs.

I want to be green, but I am unwilling to be red (cheeked).




About atreegrowsinbklyn

I’m an analog girl living in a digital world. I’m happy except when I’m sad. I’m serious, smart and sophisticated except when I’m silly, obtuse and crude. I’m ambitious and disciplined; except when I’m apathetic and self indulgent. I‘m thoughtful, generous and honest; except when I’m insensitive, cheap and lying. I’m grateful; I’m grateful; I am grateful.
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9 Responses to It’s not Easy Being Green; or Yellow, or red

  1. lm1947 says:

    I totally agree with you about the ‘new light bulbs’. The light is yellow and not as strong as other less efficient bulbs. Besides not being great for make up, they are not too great for reading either, specially as they get older.

    I found my answer to be a combination of bulbs. Some lamps have the energy efficient and others have the powerful lights.

    By the way, I also saved those reusable bags obtained at various job fairs to do my shopping.


  2. Michael says:

    An interesting post. My reply is two-fold:

    a) I don’t recommend using these bulbs in the bathroom (for reasons you’ve already discovered). They can give a much different look in the mirror and without a generous helping of natural light, you might end up in that positions. Try and keep them in larger areas or in areas with some natural light to balance the effects.

    b) the places I get those kind of bulbs are usually the places I never expect to see them. Grocery stores, convenience stores, even local pharmacies. These kind of places will often have sales on them that make them much more competitively priced. GE puts out a set of these that can be a dollar (or less!) a piece. With the exception of the lights above the big mirror in the bathroom, my house is full of these guys. Even the outdoor lights are “energy efficient.”

    All that to say, I think your efforts to stay green are admirable. I think I might try your “christening” idea next time I’m showering. 🙂

    • More good ideas! You have given me some good suggestions. I still have the bulbs and will use them in my main living area that has the natural light. I got my bulbs from my local “mom and pop” hardware store (you must support the small business owners) but, I will check out other brands from some of the larger stores.

  3. Susanne says:

    You made me laugh out loud – a lot! The color thing with the light bulbs has been worked out; you just have to buy the $12 bulbs. The other alternative is to GIVE UP that make-up stuff. I’ve met your mom, there’s no way (absolutely no way) you could possibly need that stuff. Your writing also shows me that you are truly beautiful and there’s no way all of that beauty is invisible on the outside!

    I really love the new maths (see they say maths here on the international circuit), and I totally support your greenness.

    It’s gotten to the point that I feel really, really wasteful when I don’t turn off the shower during the lather, soap up phase. I also collect the water from the kitchen sink as I’m waiting for the hot water to come in so that I can use the cold stuff to water the plants. I’m doing what I can to decrease the size of my foot print. Now if I could only do that IRL, maybe I’d be able to buy some really b*tchin shoes here in China!

    • You slay me!!! I’m so glad I made you laugh. You know laughing is as good as sit-ups. I may try one pricey bulb but, it will pain me. On behalf of my Mom; I thank you for your compliment but, her daughter will not be giving up makeup. I’m at the age where nature needs a little nurturing. I’m not overly vain; just honest. The canvas looks better with a little paint on it. Also, I know what you mean about the shoes. My mom lives in “Chinatown” in Queens and I don’t fit anything in the area stores. I am a “traditionally built women” (thank you Alexander McCall Smith for that respectful and loving phrase)

  4. vanessaifm says:

    Hahaha I loved your sense of humor. Thanks for the laugh. And you’re absolutely right, those bulbs suck! Haha I guess you’re doing a good enough job trying to save the planet doing the other things you mentioned. Use normal bulbs but keep them off when not needed. 🙂
    By the way, which one are the bulbs that left your skin looking all freakish? I’ve used those “save energy” bulbs before and they sucked but I don’t remember my skin being changed…. or maybe I did look like a freak and I never noticed hahaha. Uh oh. 🙂

    • Hi vanessaifm,

      Thank you for giving my blog a read. I am so glad that you could share the laugh with me.

      The bulbs are called Eco Spirals. They are really very beautiful as objects of art but, they didn’t help me be an object of beauty.



  5. Pingback: Happy World Wide Knit in Public Day-Fiber Keeps Me Regular | atreegrowsinbklyn

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