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Archive for August, 2015

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Yesterday I witnessed an unfortunate observance when I was on the highway driving home. I noticed a coffee cup come bouncing down the middle lane in front of me. We all see trash on the sides of the roads and interstates often but after a second it occurred to me that the car in front of me had thrown it out. I mean she tossed it right out the window. The perceivably Starbucks cup and brown paper jacket separated and went frolicking into on-coming traffic, released of their indentureship as vessels for over-priced beverage now to be run over and lie on the sides of the road with so many plastic bags, fry cartons and cigarette butts. Moments later I passed this car on their right side and glanced over to see who would be so careless or entitled to throw trash onto the roadway in such a way. There is no one I could have seen driving this Infinite sedan that would have possibly impressed me nor made it appropriate to so blatantly litter in work traffic yesterday afternoon. Objectively it appeared to be a white or light-skinned woman dressed nicely and wearing a fashionable vintage style hat and sunglasses. In my mind I shake my head but in reality I continued on my way realizing how rarely it is I actually see something so inexcusable and unnecessary. As if she couldn’t bare to drive with an empty coffee cup and dispose of it responsibly once she arrived where she was going. Or better yet, reuse it on her next outing.
I wouldn’t have thought any more about it until I had another experience this morning.
I parked in the shade at a gas station in Mechanicsville where I had the opportunity to eat a cheap but yummy breakfast burrito at my leisure before checking back in at the office. I faced a quiet connector road with the pumps and market on my left. To my right was a large field and a sparse shopping center with apartments in the distance. While I sat and ate with the windows down enjoying the breeze I saw a person in the distance walking this way, and beginning now I’ll do my best to describe every step of my thought process. It looked like a black man. Camouflage t-shirt, ball cap, carrying a little pull-tie bag. There’s a 99% chance he’s coming to the gas station. One naturally deduces that his trajectory would put him right in line with my car. I figured the chances of him not noticing and walking directly into the side of my car was pretty slim. He’d assuredly notice me and walk around. But – I’m also used to living in Richmond and at times how commonly someone will ask you if you can spare any change. And if so, who cares. I’ll either give him some cup holder pennies, nickels and dimes or I won’t. Am I going to put my windows up or change anything that I’m doing in any way? Not hardly. I’m loving this peaceful breeze and these awesome early remnants of the on-coming Fall. I consider for a second how degrading some people’s view is on the world that they would probably move their car or take some similar action, any action, over someone walking. Or walking their way. As if to say “Ooh, look. A human in the wild. What a sight. We better watch out.” Or probably more often in these rural areas “Ooh a black man coming my way. I better take precaution.” I refuse to buy into such ridiculousness. I’ve lived in the city and seen the world and have only grown richer and deeper through experiences with people. I have no history of hold-ups, assault, or any kind of unprovoked aggression. Why would I possibly be bothered by this? So I keep eating and go back to thinking about work, my wife and Jimmy Buffett. I detach from the guy entirely for a moment until I see him in my side mirror. Interested in what he was doing I watch him bend over. There’s a tree a little bit behind my car, the one providing the shade. I thought maybe he was going to sit down and enjoy it like I myself was doing. Then he stood up and had a cup in his hand. It looked empty and he was holding it like he didn’t really care about it, obviously not trying to save it from spilling anything or caring for it that much. He took a step or two and bend over again. I didn’t see what it was that time.
He stopped and was picking up trash that he saw. In the grass. Under the tree. On the edge of the parking lot.
After a few more times he moseyed over to the trash can and, having done his civil duty, threw them away and kept walking onward, setting a good example for the world.
I hate how the general audience is led to believe otherwise. These kinds of things are actually my usual experience.

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