I’ve got a recycling story for you and no it’s not complaining about the blue box system or anything like that.
It’s more about how we can be led to believe something that we’re pretty sure is not the way it is but you know there’s safety in numbers so….
This story goes back to June 30, actually I can go back even further than that when we lived on East Hill if the truth be told.
And what is truth is central to this story so let’s do that.
Back then our garbage day and recycling day were the same, Tuesdays as a matter of fact. One was every week and the other was every other week, pretty easy stuff.
In my naive I-should-definitely-get-out-more way I just assumed that was the case throughout Greater Vernon: and then we moved to the Landing and garbage day was still Tuesday, somehow, but recycling day was Friday.
It was traumatic and way more difficult to remember but somehow we adjusted and we’ve been quite happy ever since. One has to get over small setbacks like this after all.
And then came along June 30, 2016.
A Thursday to be sure, you can even look it up.
However, as my wife was driving to work, somehow ahead of yours truly for a change, she backed up in the cul-de-sac and informed me as I was beginning to get into my truck that most of the neighbours had their blue boxes out ready for the recycling truck.
“Why?” I protested meekly, and lazily I might add as I didn’t want to go back in the house if I could help it. “It’s only Thursday.”
“Yes, but tomorrow is Canada Day and maybe they don’t pick up on stat holidays,” she explained. “You never know, they could be right?”
I was pretty sure they weren’t but she had a point. There’s safety in numbers after all. And I didn’t want to go another two weeks without getting rid of a full blue box.
And what’s the worst thing that can happen? They don’t pick up and we leave it out for Friday? So the risk/reward scenario meant that I had to go back in the house and get the blue boxes and cart them out to the roadway, even though in my brain I was pretty sure it was a waste of time and energy and I would be proven right in the end, but I wasn’t willing to take the risk to look like an idiot and I gave into that insecurity of being a minority on the issue.
Of course I could’ve also gone inside and found the handy-dandy recycling calendar that was somewhere in our papers to prove I was right and save me from this silly exercise, but that would take even more time and effort, and way more organization skills than I possess, so I took the easier way out and followed the herd.
Of course, we were wrong and the boxes were still sitting there at the end of the day and were dutifully picked up on Friday as usual.
Now there’s comfort in the fact that we all looked silly together but I think there’s a larger sociological issue at hand in following the lead of others, even when you’re fairly sure they’ve got it wrong in this instance.
There are facts, which can be looked up if so inclined, and then there’s people hedging their bets because one circumstance has changed (like a stat holiday) and assuming something is true that’s actually wrong, and everyone goes along with it just in case they may be right.
Polling comes to mind. The majority says this and the majority says that, but what’s the majority basing its opinion on anyway (something from the Internet?) and who’s leading the charge?
Oh well, that’s for another day and no harm and no foul on this occasion and hopefully we’ll all remember what we learned the next time this situation occurs.
Or we can all move to the East Hill where holidays rarely occur on Tuesdays?