plastics are forever

seattle legs

Last weekend I met a boy who stole my heart. He had sympathetic eyes and a fauxhawk. We spent time together under the trees, picnicked and laughed a lot. He loves playing football and I let him win all the time. We also made art together from pieces of scrap paper and junk we found. 

When the day wears on, his hair lost its gravity defying qualities. So I wet my fingers and run my fingers through his hair. I tell him that he’s the most handsome boy I know. He laughs. 

He never calls my name, but whenever our eyes meet, I swell up in tears. I long to reach out to give him the biggest hug ever, but his arms never straighten and his fingers are constantly clenched shut, digging into his palms. He is married to his chair. It supports his back and comes with a detachable umbrella. He has cerebral palsy. He is six.

He is the most handsome boy I know.

By handsome I don’t just mean a good bone structure. I mean character, full of fiber and love. He makes me want to be a better person.

Besides thinking about him, I’m also pondering about how nothing lasts forever… except plastic. Imagine that — when we are gone, all that is left of our existence is the non-biodegradable plastic that defines our humanity. I’ve been doing some work related research about going Green — from stewardship to how our lack of sustainability efforts not only affect the environment but the poor — and how our carbon footprint goes hand-in-hand with consumerism and materialism. I’m reminded of why I stayed away from an advertising job after I graduated. Telling lies and making people buy stuff they don’t need. Marrying identity with things.

So I tell my boss about how we can minimize the use of plastics in the office by bringing our own food containers whenever we order takeaways. That way we also save on paper packaging as well as cut down the use of styrofoam and plastic. She tells me to address the staff tomorrow morning. I’m not very excited.

Perusing the internet also brought about some interesting finds. Here is the Story of Stuff.

(The second photograph features one of my favorite photographers, Charles Peterson‘s book, Touch Me I’m Sick. I shot it in the Seattle Public Library.)



  1. hi! i was just wondering what camera model do you use? and do you by any chance do any post processing on your pictures? they are really lovely. the composition, lighting, colour everything! =)

  2. hi sue jan,
    for these photos, i was using a yashica fx-3. they are scanned 35mm film prints.
    thanks for your kind words!

  3. Joann

    your photos are always incredible.
    “marrying identity with things.” – four words with great weight.

  4. thank you, joann :)

  5. Joshua

    Hi Rachael,

    Been reading your blog for some time now and thought it was about time I left a message. We share some similarities here and there, just that I’m not a graphic designer – that would help justify my tastes a little =P – but I feel ‘nice’ reading your blog and looking at your pictures.

    I’m still amazed how you can make a “I’m sick” post look so good =)

    Kind of an off topic comment though, haha, please forgive me.

    Joshua Chay

  6. hi joshua. thanks. i’m glad you feel ‘nice’ as opposed to grossed out, irritated or stupefied with the content here. nice is generally nice. thanks.

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