Every side of every residential street in New York City has a handful or two of rubber bands littering its sidewalks. They weren’t drawn to my attention until I became a dog owner, one who needs to be on alert for chicken bones and other tasty delights. The rubber bands, of course, are ignored, orphaned by all except this writer, who uses said bands to weigh down her pencils and pens. I enjoy a pen that’s a little heavier than the market bears, so I embellish. The plain, tan bands go well when combined with purple rubber bands that keep together two or three stalks of broccoli.
Inspiration note: (Pen(cil)s feel and rest better when they’re top-heavy. This could be just what you’re inner writer is missing.
Dog walks being what they are, i.e. daily and recurring, I began to ponder where all these rubber bands are coming from. New Yorkers simply aren’t that organized. And even if they were, surely they would be stowing them for future bundling. They were so constant! Never a few feet pass before one or two appear. After who knows how many months or years of walks, weather and strain I become convinced of the culprits: the U.S. Postal Service. The mail carriers. The sorters and movers who often need to discharge a band or two in order to divvy envelopes and magazines. And yes, I have seen at least one carrier toss off a band. No, I have no evidence. It doesn’t matter. Besides, evidence is binding, it keeps theory from breathing properly.
I can’t blame government workers for neglecting to return a band or two to the handle of its trolley. After all, there’s lot of carrying to do. I did, however, work up a little math and came up with the following:
If each block in New York was the victim of five band drop-offs each day, that totals 1,500 rubber bands per year. For your information, my handy food scale measured 32 rubber bands as weighing one ounce. (Actually, 16 weigh a half ounce. I am shocked to discover I don’t own even one ounce of bands. There’s a character defect for you.)
In rubber sum: 1500/32 is 47 ounces, rounded up, or three pounds, rounded up again. Multiply that by each block? Whoa. I’ve got a call in to the Department of City Planning and should be able to close the equation soon.
In the meantime, trot over to your grocery and pick up some broccoli for dinner.