And that's because of yesterday. I rode various TriMet buses and trains, mostly going with the flow -- I can go there, and hey, I can go there, too -- and by early afternoon I was at the Cascades shopping center near the airport. That's the one the Portland IKEA's at; a little later I went in there for the second time and ate at IKEA's cafe for the first time (white fish and a side of meatballs), so I've had a little more Swedish experience. Anyway. I was waiting to cross a feeder road into the main shopping center area. A family-full SUV (should I say "of course an SUV"? I'm not sure how cynical I want to be right now) was turning onto the feeder road. PLOP. Someone in the vehicle dumped a half-full clear plastic clambox of fries and meat out the window. The food hit with a thud I heard over traffic.
I'd've felt like a jackass if I passed that, so once I was across the street and near the offending pile of plastic and food I signaled to a car to wait, and got into the intersection and picked up the plastic. Some of the food could stay; I'd decided it was more important to get the damn plastic out of there and into a trash can, which I did. Of course, the part of me that wants to be Gaspar from Harlan Ellison's story "Paladin of the Lost Hour," who's so against litter that when a smoker throws a lit cigarette out of his car at an intersection Gaspar picks it up and throws it into the back seat of the smoker's car, was not going to be anywhere near satisfied because the SUV was well gone. And confronting whichever jackass had done that would likely have been a bad idea, even if they were still there. (Now I'm flashing on Anchorman. Here's why.)
THOUGHTLESS. It's thoughtlessness that drives me especially crazy. Yeah, just dump stuff, instead of maybe finishing it off (WASTED FOOD, TOO) and disposing of it before you get in the freaking car. Seeing it done that baldly made me growl-y and surly and, for a time, wanting to hate people. My general need not to be angry won out later, and I got back to wandering Portland and enjoying the day, but...THOUGHTLESS. Being that is a good way to make me crazy.
As far as I know, I've never consciously littered. I'm sure I've done it accidentally, but Mom and Dad's "don't litter" lessons were so ingrained in me so young that all the way back when I was a kid younger than 10, I let myself get close to that by carrying a leaf -- A LEAF -- into our car, waiting for us to get driving, and throw that out the window. And even that felt illicit. Even with something that's meant to fall on the ground. Nature's equipped to handle that. Nature's ability to break down plastic is still, heh, a work in progress. It's already trying to break down loads of the stuff that's been improperly discarded. Argh.
Again, I'm almost certain that everyone reading this is conscientious and careful about their garbage, but if someone who's reading this does litter? Tell me who you are so I can laugh at you.