Friday, November 12, 2010

In which Truffula shares another dispatch rife with inner conflict...

I try hard to reduce my paper use, I really do.  To supply my in-house artists, handwriting practicers, and my own printing needs, I salvage one-sided paper at every turn.  At an infamous staff meeting some years back, I put my notes for a lengthy presentation onto a 1.5 x 2-inch sticky note, using both sides, of course.  My colleagues are still talking about it.  Envelopes are given several lives in our household.  I have turned off most of my paper bank and utility statements.

This week, we received a paper copy of our Parks and Recreation Departments' class and program guide mailed to our house.  I thumbed through it, and absentmindedly put it down on the kitchen table.

The next morning, I came into the kitchen to find my 10-year-old son going through it page by page as he ate his breakfast.  He enjoyed finding the entry for the class he takes (reminder to self: I need to register him for the next session).  Even the section for seniors didn't stop him, never mind that he's got 45 years to go before he qualifies for those.  (I'm not rushing him -- as it is, it seems like the time since his sweet nursling days were not that long ago...)

Like so many other agencies, both Parks and Recreation have had significant budget cuts.  You can pay for a subscription to keep having their paper guide mailed to you.  Or, you can use the online version.

Wishing to save paper and postage, and being frugal, I want to embrace the electronic guides, just like I want to love PDFs instead of printed books and newsletters.  I'm proud of myself when I avoid using even the one-sided paper I've rescued.  The thing is that I'm also frustrated when I can't just toss the to-be-read items into my bag for reading on the bus or other on-the-go place.  I'm a cover-to-cover IKEA catalog reader, and savor some other catalogs as well.  (No worries, the degree to which I savor these publications is extremely disproportionate to the amount I actually purchase from them.)   Truffula family library cards gather no dust as we go to the library several times each week.

So, I wonder.  I wonder about saving paper and postage and keeping budgets lean.  I wonder about the experiences I've had with printed materials.  And I wonder about my dear little TruffulaBoyz, one already a strong reader, and the other one poised to join his brother in books before long.  I wonder how they will relate to the written word, and whether PDFs and Kindles and Nooks and the-next-great-device-down-the-road will allow them to curl up with, or to have breakfast with, fairy tales, fables, historic stories, poems, and yes, classes for seniors (!) the same glorious way that print on paper allows.


Green Bean said...

Great points! I, myself, have not been successful at keeping the BeanBoyz limited to reusing paper. I buy them the occasional construction paper pad only to find them having blown through it in a few days with a zillion creations to show for it. I debate not buying more paper for them but, really, there is a place for learning creativity and the ability to entertain oneself and the need to invent a new kind of paper airplane. We cannot limit them on everything.

As for myself, we recently moved and I'm trying to figure out how to put the furniture together. I've been picking up copies of decorating magazines at the library. Sure, those things are all available online but really, it is not the same!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I struggle with this as well. As I've explained to my husband, who wants me to buy a Kindle, reading is a sensory experience - the feel of the book and the smell - that I am not ready to give up. I recently cancelled our Time magazine subscription thinking I'd just read it online, but I quickly discovered that I hate reading it online, and the result is that I don't ever read it at all. And I miss it!

Related but not exactly the same, I miss CDs. I've tried loving music downloads and I am happy that I no longer have to figure out one more place to put my latest CD purchase, but I really miss the CD booklets, the artwork, and most especially the lyrics.

I'm sure it's just that I'm a child of a certain generation, and I'll bet my grandkids will read their Kindle (or similar device of the future) at breakfast and think I'm crazy for being so nostalgic about books and CDs.

Karen Anne said...

Library books. I'm happy to report that my library's parking lot is often jammed. (No mass transit, alas, but I'll take whatever good news I can get.)

They were having a bag of donated books for $1 sale when I was there over the weekend.


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