Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Don't Get: Littering

So I'm walking the dog through the woods last night (or, rather, she is racing around through the woods like an absolute fool while I shuffle along on the trail) and I'm digging the whole scene. It's about 65 degrees and sunny, the leaves are starting to come out, I'm not at work (which is good, just by definition) and then I see an empty water bottle alongside the trail. You know - one of those clear plastic bottles that the manufacturer (do you manufacture water?) has tried to make look different than the other 150 brands of bottled water that are out there. It looked woefully out of place compared to last fall's old leaves, this spring's new leaves and the occasional flower popping up. About the only thing that the bottle was good for at this point was to provide blog fodder, so here we are!

So now I'm thinking about the dolt who was enjoying the same walk as I am but doing so while drinking some overpriced H2O. Heck, he may even have been walking his dog:

Dolt: Sure is pretty out here with the leaves and flowers and stuff.
Dog: Yep, I agree. I can smell all kinds of bunnies and squirrels and other woodland creatures.
Dolt: And this overpriced agua is really tasty and refreshing too!
Dog: Yeah, it might be nice if you shared some with Man's Best Friend...
Dolt: Sorry, Fido, I just polished it off so I'm going to chuck the bottle to the side of the trail.
Dog: What are you, some kind of idiot?! You're going to ruin this beautiful park with your garbage? Why don't you just bring your old couch and car battery out here while you're at it?!
Dolt: Just relax, Spot. And quit licking yourself.

Don't even try to make the argument that a dog "litters" every time he lifts his leg or drops a steaming lump someplace. That stuff is carbon-based and disappears with the first good rain. Skippy's water bottle will be with us for a long time. I feel OK throwing banana peels out the window as I'm eating my "breakfast" on the way to work for the same reason.

And what about smokers? Who ever said it was OK to just throw your cigarette butt wherever the hell you want to? I have to smile a little on the inside when I see smokers relegated to the freezing cold to do their thing. They huddle together for warmth and stand on the little cement pad around whatever door is designated as the "smoking area". Just how enjoyable can that cigarette be? The bad thing is that they think their butts magically disappear when they throw them into the snowbank. That's fine until it gets a little warm out and the snow melts. Is there anything uglier than the pile of nasty-ass cigarette butts left when the snowbank/ashtray melts? I think not. Eventually, those butts just kind of go away, but I'm not sure where they actually end up. Hopefully, they stick to the bottom of the smoker's shoe and he leaves a little trail of fire as he walks across the purple shag in his trailer, burning it to the ground in a conflagration that smells as bad as a tire fire burning out of control but I kind of doubt that happens. I also am convinced that when one of those idiots throws a butt out the car window that it will somehow become lodged in my gas tank and blow me up but that hasn't happened yet either so I've dodged that bullet for now.

Quite a few years ago, I was participating in one of those Adopt-A-Highway things and cleaning up crap alongside US-31 near where I work. One of the guys who was working alongside me was puffing away on a cigarette and where do you think he put the butt when he was done? Yep, that jackass threw it on the ground! I'm out there on a Saturday alongside the highway not unlike a low-flight-risk prisoner in hunter orange picking up garbage and this guy thinks it's OK to flick his butt on the ground in front of me! The voices in my head told me to push him in front of the next SUV coming down the road but my meds kicked in and I was able to restrain myself. Just like short people, stupid people got no reason to live, man.

Is this a nature or nurture thing? If you are comfortable throwing your Snickers wrapper on the ground, is it because your mom and dad threw their Chunky wrappers on the ground too? (Chunkies kind of represent the '70's to me) Or is it just because you could really give a rat's ass about the environment and garbage cans are for the weak? And what's the cutoff? Are Mr. Pibb cans OK to throw into the ditch but a pair of old Nike Waffle Trainers are off-limits? What about a mattress? Refrigerator? I'm guessing that if you litter with one thing, you do so indiscriminately. To you, one man's garbage is, well, every man's garbage. On an unrelated note, I think homosexuality is a nature thing.

Look, if you think littering is acceptable then I'm going to come to your neighborhood every Sunday night to dump my trash instead of putting it on the curb for Mr. Garbageman. I can save $13.00 per month and apparently you won't mind. But if you get all pissy with me about dumping my empty boxes of Cocoa Puffs and the yogurt that expired six weeks ago in your front yard, why don't you help a brother out and put your own crap in the garbage too? Yes, I know it all goes to a landfill anyway and the associated groundwater tastes a little "tangy" but we're not talking about that today.

Pick up your garbage and put it in the proper place so that American Indian doesn't have to have that tear coming down his cheek anymore! And quit smoking too!

1 comment:

*Bitch Cakes* said...

I'm with you a billion percent and applaud you taking your own personal time to do roadside cleanup.

However, I must disagree with you on one tiny point: While I understand your banana peel defense (It is natural and will eventually biodegrade); it is still unsightly and gives the impression "It's ok to throw banana peels here, so it's ok to throw wrappers, bottles, car batteries and mattresses here too." I mean, would you throw it in your front or backyard? Probably not. And I think that's a good rule for when it's acceptable to litter. In my mind- never. But I am a woman of extremes.

Anyway, I don't mean to get on your case- just wanted you to think about it in a slightly different way. I really enjoy your blog and am looking forward to reading more!