Story Submitted by Ross:
Ariel had mentioned that she did "constant environmental volunteer work," and I assumed that it meant that she was involved with various charities and groups.
What I didn't realize was that, on our date, she would look inside of every trash can we passed (and this was in New York City - there are a few trash cans per block, most of which are overflowing) to collect bits of paper, plastic, metal, and glass, and keep them all in a plastic bag (that she had brought with her).
"Nobody recycles," she said, "So I'm saving us, one garbage can at a time."
When her plastic bag was filled to capacity, she went inside an electronics store to ask them if they had a recycle bin. They told her that they couldn't take household trash, and she argued with them that it wasn't from a household. They told her that they couldn't help her, and so we left with each other and a bag of recyclable trash that nobody wanted.
She asked me, "You think a restaurant would take it? I'm only trying to help everybody."
I told her, "I think you might be better off finding a bin somewhere on a residential street."
We found a string of brownstones and she dumped her bag into one of the bins. Great. The very next thing she did was to look in a nearby trash can, and wouldn't you know it? Someone had thrown out some perfectly recyclable cardboard, and an old pasta jar. She relocated these to the bin, and we continued on.
The restaurant at which we ate had paper napkins, and she insisted on bringing the used ones with us, "To put into another bin – paper is paper," she told me. It certainly was.
To be fair, I'm not against recycling, and I think that what she was doing wasn't as bad as all that. But recycling was the main focus of the date, and I think that our time spent together (the point of a "date") was sharply curtailed in favor of making sure that paper products would one day be reused.
When I paid for dinner with my fake leather wallet, she said, "You should be using a composite wallet."
After dinner, we had planned to visit a museum that was open late, but she said, "I'm kind of on a roll here, and I want to make my weekly goal. Do you mind if we postpone the museum?"
She was asking me to cut the date short because she would rather pick up trash. Maybe I should have been more exciting. Or, maybe she should have been just a little less insane. I said, "Go for it." She gave me a hasty hug goodbye, stepped off the sidewalk, and started mining the gutters for waste.
Story Submitted by Ross: