Friday, September 01, 2006
Crazy Litter Lady
That's right. That's what I've become. The Crazy Litter Lady. All I need is a brightly hued super hero uniform with a silk-screened icon of a crushed tin can on the chest and a piece of dirty paper stuck to my boot heel.
It all started innocently enough at lunch today. Not so innocently, evidently. I'd gotten a take-out salad at a gourmet market and was walking back to my car when I noticed that some college-aged young guns in a posh black sedan were parked next to me. One guy in the car happened to be blocking my way with his open passenger door. He was leaning out of the door, trying to put soy sauce on his sushi tray lunch. I patiently went to my passenger side door to toss my stuff inside, allowing him some soy soaking time. In the meantime, young guy number two comes out of the store, dropping the "F" bomb about some store employee he had a beef with. It was pretty obvious these were privileged kids, in their Hamptons wannabe madras shorts and shrunken polo shirts. When I came back around to my door, I noticed that the first kid had thrown his plastic grocery bag, soy sauce container and paper tray on the ground before he shut himself back in the sedan.
Now, before I go on, it may help to know that I'm stickler when it comes to litter. It's one of my biggest pet peeves to see people chuck junk out of their vehicle windows. It's so lazy and so inconsiderate and so ecologically unsound. I once had a fantasy that every litterer's trash that they'd tossed out in a lifetime--from beer bottles to gum wrappers--would one day seek them out and physically attach to the litterer's body as if magnetized. I like to imagine these trash-covered people walking with their arms extended forward, zombie-like, through a city. Neat.
So back to the trash before me. I was annoyed when I saw it, thinking these kids should know better. How lazy, inconsiderate and ecologically unsound of them! I almost got into my car, but then stopped myself. If I didn't pick up their trash, I'd be an accomplice of sorts. So I bit the bullet and bent over, starting to grab the disgarded dreck.
This triggered a small crisis of conscience in the litterer, because he quickly popped open his door and said self-consciously, "I'll get that. Sorry. My bad." But it was too late. He didn't know I'd been raised by a mom who knew the power of a passive-aggressive guilt trip, especially when it came to picking up after one's self.
"Oh, no. That's cool," I said, still leaning down, not making eye contact. "I'll get it. I just have this thing about litter."
The kid kind of gulped and said, "Oh. OK, thanks." and closed his door.
I was embarassed, but determined, as I swung around with the junk in my hand to get back in my car--squealing audibly when a stream of stray soy sauce splashed within inches of my light-colored seersucker skirt. It would have really sucked if I'd been soyed on top of being annoyed, but further insult was averted.
I quickly wiped off my hands and backed out of my parking spot, making a point of not making eye contact with the dudes. I didn't know what kind of expressions I'd see looking back at me, and didn't want to know. I do think I caught a glimpse of one guy in the back waving thanks from behind a darkly tinted window. Let's hope so. At least I saved the outdoors from one lunch's worth of rubbish. And hopefully the kid and his posse will think twice before they cross the Crazy Litter Lady again. Booya.