give a hoot

Give a hoot, don't pollute.

Today, after work, I was standing in a chilly drizzle at my bus stop, hands in my pockets, wishing I were wearing some sort of shoe with socks instead of ballet flats, when I saw an appalling display of poor parenting.  Near me, also waiting at the stop were two other young women, one with a baby on her hip, and the other with a toddler in tow.  The mom-of-toddler was juggling a couple of plastic grocery bags and talking on her cell phone. Toddler was guzzling a little plastic bottle of Kool Aid and eating Chex Mix.

Then I heard it. The kid finished the Kool Aid and didn’t just drop the bottle, she threw it on the ground, with gusto. Of course, I expected to hear the immediate “Pick that up, we don’t do that!” But no. Instead, MOT stomped on the bottle to smash it and then did the craziest thing.  She kicked it about half a block, walking, and kicking, and walking, and kicking, until she was several feet away.  Then she left the plastic bottle on the sidewalk and walked back to the stop. It was the most effort I’ve ever seen someone put into littering. I can’t understand why it wouldn’t have been easier to just reach down and pick up the bottle and put it in the plastic grocery sack, while telling the child that it’s not OK to throw trash on the street. But what do I know. I thought about going and picking up the bottle, as I’ve been known to come home with my messenger bag stuffed with the cans and bottles I find near the stop and toss them in the recycling, but I thought it might cause some sort of altercation. Some days I just don’t get people.

6 Replies to “give a hoot”

  1. It would have been really cool (and confrontational) if you had made a big show of walking over to it and picking it up in front of her.

    I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why you didn’t, cause that sounds EXACTLY like something you would do.

    Of course, if she looked like the type who might start something, all bets are off.


  2. Many times I have seen smokers toss cigarette butts on the ground or out the window of their car, or people simply letting their trash fall to the ground, disregarded, and I have to wonder if we are really that complacent now. I do make a big show of picking up other people’s trash, if only perhaps to plant a seed of shame, though I think that seed will never take root.


  3. It seems like it takes so much more effort to litter. I wonder if people that litter just assume it’s okay because someone else will deal with it. If that is the conscious thought, they suck and I can’t relate at all. How entitled can one person be? Maybe there is a littering disorder we’ll hear about soon and the big drug companies can make a pill for it. There’s a pill for everything these days, so why not!


  4. I’m just reading this now, but am wondering why you didn’t say something to the other mom? If I’m walking when I see someone litter, I always say something – I feel like by not saying something that I’m condoling the behavior.


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