Well, it's surprising how quickly my cultural norm has shifted.

I live in a county in California where it is no longer legal for stores to provide plastic bags. In fact, they can't even provide paper bags unless they charge the customer for each bag. For many, I suppose, this is pushing toward using reusable bags. For me, of course, it has just pushed me to being comfortable walking out of the grocery store with an arm full of cereal boxes and soda bottles.

This is in spite of the fact that I have perfectly good reusable bags from Harris Teeter sitting in the back of my car.

I don't have any objection to the law; I hope it is helping me to either improve my memory or to stop worrying about my memory. I have quickly gotten used to the situation.

So much so that this week in Detroit, I am walking around in awe. I just stopped by Target to pick up two 20 ounce bottles of soda to take back to my hotel. By reflex, the cashier started putting them in a bag. I said, "I don't need a bag, thanks." To which she responded by putting the second bottle into the bag, tearing the bag from its nest of companions, giving it to me and saying, "Too late."

The promiscuous plastic bag distribution is quite shocking, and feels almost obscene, or at least rude. Can't everybody see that not every package of gum needs to be further protected by its very own sheath of plastic with a 7-11 logo on it? I have turned from someone who isn't allowed to have bags to someone who can't understand why I'm forced to take your bags.

So quickly we adapt.

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