Triumph can be seen in small steps, one after the other like soldiers boots dragging against hot sand. Slow yet deliberate moves are being made in the right direction. I open my Facebook page, often annoyed at myself for even still having one. Why do I feel the need to "keep up" with everyone? As I scroll numbly I see Vancouver is the first city to ban plastic straws and foam containers, I find it interesting and continue on scrolling. An ad comes across the screen and I decide in that moment to go get coffee, it was my choice after all. Before heading out I make sure to grab the mail keys and my purse full of things I never seem to use but become anxious if they aren't by my side. Checking the mail has become quite the game, how many things that I have searched online or watched carefully placed ads for, will show up in my mail box in the form of a coupon this time?
Every second storefront is boarded up; nothing stays for long in the downtown. Only the big chain stores last, they are the quick drawing out-of-towner in an old western movie. There is an old slum-dog hotel that houses the socially condemned and as I walk by, it's inhabitants holler from third story windown reminding me that the human animal lives deep within us all. With four blocks under my feet I am finally greeted by the sad eyes of a coffee house employee. I don't ask how she is because over the last few years I have become increasingly more socially awkward. This is strange because I spend most of my time on social media, connecting and sharing with people. It has allowed me to pause and think about my answers instead of organically connecting...is it possible to forget how? I force my way through ordering a large iced coffee with a double espresso shot. If I was more aware of it all I might be upset you know, they tell you addiction is an active choice but daily I am bombarded with catchy advertising campaigns that tug on my emotions and trigger my brain into believing I need something.
The sad eyed woman hands me the drink and I say thank you, grabbing the plastic one-time use container. I pluck a straw from the pile and unwrap it to reveal the red plastic beneath the paper. Playing with the straw between my teeth I breifly remember Vancouver and what a truly remarkable feat it is to be the first city to ban an item that I wouldn't have thought twice about yesterday. Every movement starts with a singular idea and when nurtured in the right environment it grows. Sometimes it continues growing and in it's own way changes the world. From four provinces away I am reminded of the role I personally play each day in either the destruction or creation of the society around me. I head back home past the closed storefronts and fragile faced people and begin to believe that change is possible. As I sit back down at my computer I decide to search something different, "zero waste coffee". Tomorrow morning will bring with it a new level of what I decide to call, ethical caffeine. Besides, it will be fun to see if they dare send me a coupon for it.