I think it’s great that the transfer station is now taking so many recyclables. Since almost everything I (and the cats) eat comes in a can or some sort of plastic container, I generate a lot of them.

What I’m not so happy about is the time it takes me to find and/or decipher the little symbol on the plastic. I haven’t yet reached the point where I can identify the type of plastic on my own, and I can spend precious minutes (precious to me) looking for the little triangle and then, when I have found it, trying to see what the number is. I get especially annoyed at the vendors who cover the sign with a label, which means I have to read it backward.

Of course, since I bundle all my plastic in a single bin, I have to go through the same drill at the transfer station.

It would be a lot easier if there weren’t so much packaging. I understand that you can now buy implements specially designed to open all those packaged items that you used to break your teeth or your nails on. Or you took a scissors to the darn thing and discovered, when you pried it out of its reluctant womb, that you had destroyed the instructions or the warranty.

But then, if there were less packaging, there would be fewer jobs in the packaging industry, which has its own downside. I do wonder why commerce is designed for the dishonest person. Surely there are a lot more people who are going to do themselves grievous bodily harm when they try to open a plastic package than there are people who are ready to steal the item because it is so scantily packaged. Another of those mysteries of life that I will never understand.

As for recycling itself, I heard about a study that proved that it is faster and more efficient and economical to hire people as sorters, so that you bring all your recyclables in one big bag and let the sorters (I can’t help thinking of them as pickers) sort them out — a process that creates even more jobs but robs the depositor (depositing his recyclables) of the self-satisfaction of doing the right thing. Whether it’s the snakes or the ladders, you just can’t win.

I spent a little time in my basement yesterday. I visit it often — to clean the cat boxes, to take down or bring up something I need, to look for something I think might be there, to throw the breaker switch when I install a lighting fixture in my Red Room (despite the warning on the package that installation should be done by a licensed electrician), to check my heating oil supply (several years ago I decided that I was old enough to care more about staying warm than worry about what it cost) — but I don’t often hang around.

I did yesterday because my friend Tug was putting the finishing touches to the futon frame I had bought at a yard sale a few years ago in the expectation that I would someday find a use for it (this is what happens when you have a big basement). In fact, I did find a use for it: It is going into my young friend Austin’s man cave, and I can’t think of a better future for it.

In any event you can spend just so much time watching someone put together a futon frame, so I had a look at some of the stuff that is down there. There is an extensive collection of exercise machines. There are several boxes with all my college papers in them. There are dozens of cartons that held items that I bought (and the packaging on most of them doesn’t present the kind of challenge today’s packages do). There is an illuminated toy soldier (don’t ask) and there are some road signs and some signs from Yankee Stadium (I knew the people that demolished it in 1972, in its first renovation) and I am only scratching the surface. There are hundreds of old New Yorker and Down East magazines (I’ll have to check eBay to see if they are worth anything at all, but I expect they’ll end up going to the transfer station, where so many of my excess possessions are headed) and then there are the newspapers. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to have copies of the New York Post on the day the Son of Sam was apprehended (Thursday, Aug. 11, 1977: CAUGHT! Son of Sam was on way to kill again/”I wanted to go out in a blaze of glory”) and Nixon resigned (Thursday, Aug. 8, 1974: EXTRA: NIXON QUITS TONIGHT); of the New York Times (Friday, Aug. 9, 1974: NIXON RESIGNS/He urges a time of “healing”: Ford will take office today); and when the new century began (and I’m not going to get into the argument over whether that is the end of 2000 or 2001 — or would it be 1999?), though I have my own private belief.

It is with regret that I add Time-Warner to my list of customer dis-services, though it is, for now, at the bottom. They tried to charge me for $300 worth of equipment (frankly, I didn’t know you could pay that much for cable paraphernalia) that I didn’t have. In fact, I’d just recently turned in a cable converter box that I never used — come to think of it, I don’t remember the last time I turned on the TV except to watch a DVD anyway. I can’t bear the noise, especially since it is so full of nothing. I was glad to miss NBC running the video of the Georgian luger’s accident, and I think that if I were watching when the Olympic official said it was his fault and not the track design, I might have thrown something at the screen. And if the track was so great, why were they putting great huge blue pads on the steel posts the very next day? To quote Eloise, I ask you — is that any way to run the Olympics?

Amazon continues to head the list. It has restored my address book but not 10-plus years of purchase history, and now my offer to pay for items that were never posted to my credit card has been put off until March. And I do miss my PayPhrase (which I may someday reveal, but not until I get it back). It took me a long time to come up with it, and I’m not letting it go gently into Amazon’s dark night.