I had another topic on slate for this week’s post, but then an unexpected event sparked the following. I didn’t think it was a topic that still needed ranting about, but clearly I was wrong.
I was walking to the bus station a couple days ago, headed to the gym with a hop in my step. It was a beautiful sunny day. Chatty office workers returned from lunch to their suburban workplace in pairs and trios. A smile here, a smile there, “Hello, Good day to you sir.”
A few steps later, I see her walking towards me, a nicely dressed middle-aged woman with greying hair pulled back in a bun. She had numerous shopping bags balanced on each arm, as she puffed on her cigarette.
Then, right before crossing me on the sidewalk, she does it. She lets her roll of smoky cancer-fodder drop to the ground, steps on it with a pretty floral sandal and carries on her way without a care.
What is this? An episode of Mad Men? (Am I the only one still traumatized by that picnic scene in season 2?)
I get it. Legislation is pushing your daily (dirty) habit out of buildings, patios and parks (rightly so, as far as I’m concerned). You’re gonna smoke as you walk the sidewalk. But why’d you have to litter too? Why ya gon’ go do that?
Even more shocking to me—the lack of embarrassment. I was clearly watching you, we’re facing each other, yet you’re so comfortable with your routine of drag, drop, step and ditch that you’ve absolutely no shame in doing so in front of someone.
It reminded of a mini fiasco a few months back when Canada’s International Cooperation Minister, Julian Fantino, made a stink (pun intended) about the amount of garbage and filth he saw littering the streets of Haiti, a country plagued by poverty, natural disasters and governance issues.
I wonder what the minister has to say about those who, like this woman, have access to public garbage bins (recycling and even sometimes compost bins) waste management services, and plenty of education, yet still choose to dump their trash willy-nilly.
I’ve got a message for these people: Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.
“Common, a cigarette butt is so small”, you might think. Sure it is. But if you take a gander at the ground after a long Canadian winter, you’ll see that the melting snow has left behind what looks like a special edition Timmy’s doughnut (With poisonous sprinkles galore! Just 50 cents with a coffee).
In Canada, in this day and age, there is really no excuse for littering. None.
Am I right?