Convenience and Inconvenience

Convenience and Inconvenience

We value convenience. Things are much more attractive if they are comfortable, close by and require little effort. We have convenience stores, convenient packages (though sometimes I wonder about those), convenient locations, convenient programs. One of the attractive features of the paint and electronics recycling programs is that they use the same collection system as the beverage containers — convenient for consumers, one stop shopping.

Inconvenience can be a significant barrier for us. Things that require extra effort may be abandoned — retailers whose easy access is barred by road construction can attest to this. If the recycling bin is across town and requires painstaking sorting of materials it may be too much trouble to use.

There are times when we are willing to put up with inconvenience. When it’s something very important to us, we will take on the extra effort. If you have a child who will flourish in a school that is across town, or out of town, you may not be deterred by the extra time involved because your child’s welfare is a priority.

Truth can be convenient or inconvenient as well. I’m very comfortable with researchers who tell me that chocolate is good for me. A study that says I need to increase my consumption of cod liver oil —- mmm, not so much.

I’ve been careful to not heat food in the microwave in soft plastic containers — the research shows that some of the plastic molecules get into the food. Then, a friend noted that research she had seen suggested that we shouldn’t even freeze food in plastic containers because when the food is thawing the same chemicals get released. Talk about an inconvenient truth for me — my freezer is full of plastic containers. I really wanted to do the 10-year-old thing and put my hands over my ears and sing loudly so I couldn’t hear what she was saying. (That’s been my mental picture of what people have been doing in many of the ‘big oil’ board rooms when climate change research is discussed).

But the trouble with the truth is that, whether it’s convenient or inconvenient, it’s still the truth.