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Friday, December 19, 2003
      ( 9:58 AM ) Jackie  

Charging Ahead....And Getting Along With Germs


In this world of open software and International standards for just about everything but which side to butter your bread on, I am struck by the lack of standards for battery chargers.

The charger for my rechargeable double A's (which I need for my little Nikon digital, my metronome, and my tape recorder) starts out with a green light that turns red when the batteries are charged. That sort of makes sense... The charger for the batteries for my beloved Canon S400 Elph starts out with a red light that turns green when the batteries are charged. That makes sense too. Except that maybe it goes the other way around. Am I taking the batteries out too soon and losing some good pictures? Am I leaving them in too long and possible harming them? Now I have another charger for my Nikon Coolpix 7500 camera, newly acquired on Craig's list. These batteries and their charger are of course totally different from the others. The charger has a yellow light. The light blinks when the batteries are being charged and turns solid yellow when the batteries are charged. At least I think that's the way it goes.

Not only does this confuse me. But it also means that I need to pack three battery chargers and assoicated battries when I travel, if I'm going to do any photography at all, which of course I am.


As for those germs -- Everyone is hacking and coughing and sneezing. The less fortunate among us are barfing and pooping. It's pretty ugly out there! And no one seems to be covering their mouth when they cough! I'm not at surprised that flus and colds are becoming more virulent (oh! a pun!). Someone out there has convinced us that we must hold a terrifying world at bay by using anti-bacterial, anti-germ hand soaps, dish soaps, dusting wipes, cleaning wipes, and who knows what all else. We lose our immunities and the little germs just figure it all out and go on to develop new strains that can withstand our cleaning efforts. I figure if we don't kill ourselves with scented chemical products we'll do it with our cleaning cloths.

All of this is of course in the aid of commerce -- create a need and fill it. How many dollars go into selling us things to "kill germs" and to make things smell "better"? (See, I'm just posing a rhetorical question here because I'm too lazy to go research the answer.)

I won't even go into detail about how much I hate scented laundry soap and those nasty little non-bio-degradable things that have become an absolute necessity for many people's dryers. An "ugh!" will have to suffice. But I do complain about how hard I have to look for plain old soap that is biodegradeable and doesn't stink!

The deeper issue about this for me is what is I suppose a spiritual one. The marketing of these items separates us from and sets us against the rest of nature. Nature, as represented by "germs" becomes something to be feared and conquered. It's dirty and smelly and dangerous.

Like war, that attitude is not healthy for children and other living things. My mother had a healthier attitude: "You've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die," she would say. I find this scomforting. Not only does it give me permission to go out and play and get dirty and messy. It tells me that the world is essentially a safe place, and that I am a part of it.

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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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