A Roadside Campaign
Whenever Martha and I walk along local roads we see patterns---especially when we get into a routine of walking, like when the kids were in a stroller or now when Martha is taking Daisy out for constitutionals.
We see litter.
But litter isn't random.
Not most of it, anyway. OK, half of it is random. But the rest is the steady work of particular individuals engaging in a nasty habit, that of throwing junk out of their car windows in a very patterned way.
The patterns stand out starkly in the springtime, after the melt, before the grass grows in.
One mile of roadside will be strewn with empty Black Velvet pints every 20 yards.
Another mile reveals a steady stream of empty Popov vodka pints.
Yet another mile is full of dozens of small cups with brown spit in them.
Right there we have three discrete and definite people who are being morons.
(In the past, on another side of our block we had another Popov villain. And on another whole stretch of road we found baggies with butts and an empty cigarette wrapper.)
What do good people do who walk past roadside trash?
THEY TEACH THE BUMS A LESSON!
No, they deliver some potent psychology, fit to freak out the morons who litter and WAKE THEM UP and bring their nasty habits to a screeching halt.
What we do is pick up the bottles, the litter and line it all up on the edge of the pavement. Not in the way of the cars or of bikers, but in the paved roadway FROM WHENCE IT CAME.
As a first order of business it surely does not belong in the grass. It belongs to the cars.
As a second order of business, it belongs to ONE CAR.
And given the facts of these patterns that one car drives that road quite often.
The moron is driving along and after seeing the 30th empty bottle of Black Velvet WHICH THEY HAVE THROWN OUT THEIR WINDOW standing on the road STARING RIGHT BACK AT THEM...
...they freak out.
They pick up all the bottles and never litter again.
It really is a shocker for them.
OK, maybe they don't always do that. We've had some tough nuts. But they've all cracked.
For the ciggies-in-baggy person, we hung up all the baggies that we ever found in bush branches near the road. They disappeared but then the baggies started showing up again. So we festooned one bush with them (for max impact) and staked a sign into the shoulder saying "Hey, Ciggy-Baggy Person: Stop Littering!" That worked.
It's totally co-dependent and, uh, enabling to just pick up the moron trash. That just makes you the slave of a moron.
No, morons simply need awakening. Then they become adults, at least in that part of their life. Adulthood is about waking up.
You certainly just don't send decent folks out to the roadsides to pick up after the morons. That way they know not what they do. They have to know. That's the whole point. Knowledge. You don't want them to waste their lives, do you?
I also have a weirder view about trash. When an unconscious person litters I kind of consider to be like animal behavior. A moron is a human animal. Animals are natural. Unconscious people are just a force of nature. They know not what they do. Litter is just how a world can look. If the nature of some of that world's people is to throw stuff out of windows, that's that world. I think a world should look like how it is. Having some people pick it all up doesn't change its nature. It only changes its image. We get the trash we deserve. Yet because we're humans each litterbug is still responsible for their trash. It accrues bad karma. Picking it up for them messes everything up. OK, I suppose they could wake up and make up for it somehow even if their trash has been picked up. I just tend to like things piling up NOW. It brings change and crisis on quicker.
Heck, I don't think that people should be picked up after even in interior places. When it looks and stinks bad enough the litterers will wake up. Or be chastised more promptly.
Let's run with this even further. How does anyone learn to find meaning in our rudderless culture? They get a lucky wake-up call! So if you luckily find access to a life teacher, go for it. Someone has stood up your empties alongside a stretch of road, out of all those millions of miles of road. Lucky you!