Monday, February 8, 2010

Ahh, confession!

Being Catholic means I've gotten really good at confessing. "Bless me Father, for I have sinned, it has been X days since I've been to confession." You want the skinny? I've got the skinny. There's nothing like standing in line, unfocused eyes pinned to a stained glass window. Pondering sins past, I wipe one sweaty palm against another as I wait for a chance to bare my soul.

I felt the need to participate in this age-old ritual today while at Starbucks. No, the confessional hasn't moved. I was having a coffee date - minus the coffee - with a friend and she asked how the embargo was going.

"It's okay," I said.

"You're still boycotting China, even after one month in?" she asked, looking impressed.

My confession radar was humming wildly, desperate for a chance to kick into gear. "It's been easy the past two weeks because all I've bought is food." There it was, confession #1. For some reason, house-sitting had served as very effective shopping obstacle. Maybe I felt compelled to be at the house with the dogs when I wasn't working? Who knows.

And then I decided to continue. What IS it with Catholics and confession? "Well," I hedged, "It might be cheating, but I have bought a few things that say "Made in the U.S. of U.S. and/or imported materials." It was out: confession #2.

But wait - hadn't I admitted to this very thing posts and posts ago (think: green sponge incident)? If you recall, I had called the so called "green sponge incident" our first boo-boo. I should insert here that Drew would vehemently disagree - it was certainly not a boo-boo in his book. If I recall correctly, he was ready to throw the whole boycott to the wind if I insisted on being so picky as to refuse to buy something that "might" be made of imported materials from a country that "may" (or may NOT) be China.

"But," I hastened to say to my friend, "It says 'and/or' so the thing could be made entirely of U.S. materials. And who says 'imported' means China? It could be from anywhere."

Ahh, confession. I've always been the sort of person who spots miniscule faults in myself and then proceeds to blow them up into sins of gigantic proportions. Please realize that any other sane person would laugh long and hard at my blown up sins. I was born with enough guilt for twenty-three Catholics.

But this is one "sin" that I refuse to ponder any longer. There are many "why not's" in our situation - and I've asked them all. Why aren't we boycotting India and Pakistan - their working conditions probably aren't much better than China's? Why aren't we buying strictly American for a year? Why don't we just go local?

My answer is that we have to start somewhere...and China is where we decided to start. So take that, my dear nagging little conscience. Drew and I are boycotting "Made in China"...and that's that.

P.S. We'll be opening the discussion for next year's resolution on December 31st, 2010.


  1. It helps when your non-priest confessor is also Catholic :) Boycotting just China is perfectly fine...you don't have to take on the weight of the world!

    P.S. Love the face mask ;)

  2. I agree. If we start to think about all the things we COULD do... gosh, we would never be able to live. There are things that at this point in life, we need. A lot of that comes from countries that are underpaid and underfed. That's abysmal and wrong. But you have to start somewhere. Kudos to you, and may this effort be integrated into your life for good.