Saturday, May 23, 2009

How I bit a litterbug

Last week as I was driving around the corner near my house, I saw a litterbug in action. I’m not referring to the lowly insects who throw garbage out their car windows. This bug was a more sophisticated insect, one who puts on airs and whose own life is seemingly litter free. This bug maintains the perfect yard complete with topped trees, sprinklers during drought, and green, two-inch high grass (or whatever grass height the cool people prefer).

The bug was approaching the roadway with litter in hand, and after the other cars and I passed, she crossed the road and threw her trash onto our neighbor’s property.

(As a regular victim of roadway litter myself, I understand that she must be frustrated.)

Now, don’t get me wrong here—she wasn’t throwing trash from one manicured yard to another—that, I’m sure, would be sinful in her eyes. The bug’s neighbor in question (whom I’ve also met) is elderly and doesn’t regularly maintain her property all the way to the road. The area by the road is mostly wooded. But in my eyes, the crime is no different.

I decided right then that the bug should be punished.

I had seen this kind of detestable act before and was sickened by it. Now, it was my own neighbor, and my mind raced with ideas for revenge.

First, I imagined her yard strewn with diaper globs, broken glass, toilet tissue, cans, magazines, cigarette butts, shredded paper… Last, I thought of the people I admire, their actions and wondered what would be the right thing to do.
I decided the best response was to be a good example. I could wait until she was outside, and then proceed to pick up trash along the roadway; I’d begin with my own littered yard and work my way around the corner. Of course I’d also include her yard.
Though I consider the above to be an ideal response, there were several problems: a) I can’t actually see her house from mine, just some of her yard, so how would I catch her outside? b) Umm, the toddler? The roads are busy and no place for baby. c) It’s hot summertime, yuck. d) There’s plenty of Poison Ivy along parts of the area, too. Certainly a deterrent, especially again considering the toddler.

I also considered an anonymous letter, and my husband noted that if she knew someone had seen her, she’d probably never do it again.

I made my final decision on what action to take and acted on it that evening before I could get too nervous. Under cover of darkness, I filled a small trash bag with the litter from the property across from hers. Once finished, I set the bag at the end of her driveway and left a "Don't throw down on K-town" bumper sticker for effect.

Sure, I could’ve just thrown the trash back into her yard. She would’ve still gotten the point (I think), and I could’ve smiled mischievously watching her pick it up the next morning, but I want to do the right thing.

I’m hoping for a cleaner roadway around here and may just start picking up trash myself.

As for my litterbug neighbor, I hope my bite is still itching.


Vegmom said...

Love the idea of cleaning up while making a point at the same time.. Very cool!

My Favorite Veg Rest. from your comment on my blog is Tomato Head in Maryville. We enjoy making a day of the food, then frozen coffee (with Soymilk of course) at the little place down the street and a walk.

I haven't been to the two places you mentioned but will do so, after seeing them posted here.

Thank you!

Candace G said...

Good for you. I think you made the right decision. How rude of that woman. Regardless of what her neighbor's yard looks like, what sense does it make to contribute to her unmanicured lawn? I wonder what made littering a logical decision in her mind?

Anonymous said...

You did the right thing. With style, too!