Deliberate Littering

My youngest daughter had another morning of before-school activities.  All 5 of us (myself, my daughters and our two exchange students) loaded up and headed toward school.  The lights were rather unkind today.  I took this time to look at all of the other cars around me.  The bumper stickers are to be read, right?  As we continued our bad luck with the lights, we finally made it to the last “real” time-sucking light before getting the girls to school.  (I was going to get my daughter their a little later than she wanted, but the teacher she was to meet with was just walking in as I dropped them off.)  As I look to my right, the car ahead of me opened the driver door.  While I was expecting the driver to pour out their coffee onto the pavement, I was surprised to see them take a paper plate (likely a temporary home to their breakfast before it was consumed) and  slide it discretely under their car.

I will admit to being a little taken back by her actions.  I mentioned it to the girls as well.  I mentioned to my oldest daughter who was sitting in the front seat, “You should mouth the words, ‘I saw you.’ when we pass her.”  (The daughter on the opposite side of the car in the back seat would have jumped at righting in a small way this injustice.)  Our exchange students also saw the behavior as going against an Asian sense of planetary responsibility.

As a reluctant recycler, I can sympathize with those who are unwilling to make the occasional effort necessary to place a can or cup in the proper receptacle.  I don’t have the equation, but it would seem at some point there is a diminishing return.  However, if I have a gum wrapper, I will walk off the path to the closest trash can to throw it away OR I will give it a home in my pocket until a trash can presents itself.

Is willful littering a symptom of an entitlement mentality?  Is it the result of poor parental examples?  Am I using the mornings observation as a more serious problem then the random event it really was?  If I were a superhero ( not a real impressive superhero) who could animate trash and make it do my bidding, would the present or the past provide a better environment?  If there is such a superhero/villian out there, I will continue to do my part to provide him/her as little access to his superpowers as possible.

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