I just caught myself doing something extremely odd; something that I’ve done habitually for years. It’s in the general class of little quirks which we tend to notice especially in generations older than us. I suspect that’s because the original underlying cause of their habit is obscured by time and “progress” and made to seem all the more out-of-place as a consequence.
My specific quirk concerns those plastic rings which hold together multipacks of cans and bottles. Whenever I’m about to dispose of one, I always take a pair of scissors and snip through every closed loop in the plastic so that none of them are joined together. I can remember very clearly why I do this, although I couldn’t tell you when it started.
At some point in the past, I heard a story about scavenger birds (seagulls and the like) who were getting their heads caught in the loops of plastic can-holders and then slowly choking themselves to death. I believe that the story specifically mentioned cutting the loops apart to avoid their suffering. I wouldn’t class myself as a rampant “animal lover” exactly, but something about the story hit home. Et voila, many years later I find myself standing in my kitchen cutting up plastic rings. Each time I do it, I remember the original story and ponder its veracity, even as I snip snip snip away.
The really crazy thing is that I then hopefully deposit the plastic in with the recycling, telling myself “well, I snipped it in case they reject and landfill it regardless.”
I fully expect, many years from now, to be standing in some kitchen snipping away whilst incredulous offspring or offspring-offspring (should such people ever exist) ask me “why the heck are you doing that?”
“Seagulls, dear. Seagulls.”
I’m not even particularly fond of seagulls…