My Family (a long time ago)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Man's Trash Is Still Trash

I am appalled at the amount of trash I see laying around in the streets, on the sides of the roads, in parking lots, well, basically everywhere. It seems that just about every place I go I’m greeted by somebody’s carelessly discarded fast food bag, candy wrapper, soda can, losing scratch tickets, etc. I won’t even mention all the knuckleheads that flip cigarette butts out the window like the whole earth is their personal ash tray (oh, I guess I just did). 

A few weeks back, there was a local clean up for Earth Day and there was trash bag after trash bag on the side of the road filled with a year’s worth of refuse. There were also car tires, old television sets and radios, old chairs and worn out rugs. I even saw a car bumper on one street. I couldn’t believe all that trash had been picked up. The sad part about it is two days after it was all picked up and looking nice, some ignoramus dumped a small pile of junk in one of the spots that had just been cleaned. Seriously, the cleaned up area lasted all of two days. I guess they thought that it was someone else’s responsibility to clean up their mess.

What is wrong with people these days? I used to live on a semi-main road and almost every Saturday and Sunday morning I would have to clean up my front yard or the street in front of my house because there were Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Dunkin' Donuts bags, and quite a few times the remnants of a six pack from your favorite brewery (Drink Responsibly? Yeah, right). It wasn’t just my yard either. It was all up and down the street. There was a time we had put a non-working stove out front to be picked up by the local trash company and I noticed a car had stopped in front of it. I watched as they took off the dials for the burners, which I really didn’t care about since it was going to the dump. So the guy puts the dials in his car, takes out an empty wine bottle and a couple empty beer bottles, puts them on the old stove, jumps back in his car and starts to take off. I was ticked off big time and went tearing out of the house to try and get the license plate number or throw one of the empties through their back window, neither of which happened since they were too far away. I just couldn’t believe what I had just seen.

I’ve mentioned many times that we didn’t have much materially growing up, but one thing my parents taught us was to respect other people’s property. That meant that you didn’t throw your trash out the window of a car onto someone else’s lawn or in the street. Here’s a concept that doesn’t seem to be being taught anymore: bring your fast food trash home with you and put it in the trash when you get home or put it in the trash barrels that all fast food restaurants have outside their buildings after you eat and before you leave the parking lot. I know that’s a lot of work for some people and it appears they believe that it is below them to take care of trash, but it is their responsibility to clean up after themselves. Maybe it comes down to a lack of respect, I don’t know.

I don’t want to sound like an old man, but back in my day we didn’t throw trash out the car window. Littering was just not accepted. If my parents ever found out that I was throwing trash out the car window, I would not have had a car to drive for months. They just wouldn’t have stood for such stupidity and laziness. Plus, they probably would have made me go clean up my mess if it was still there just to teach me a lesson. My friends didn’t do it either, at least not that I can remember. This much I know: there wasn’t anywhere near as much trash in the street or in people’s yards.

So do your fast food takeout, have a soda or a bottle of water while you’re driving, even try your luck on a scratch ticket. Just have a little respect for the rest of us and don’t carelessly discard your trash out the car window. 

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