When you’re watching a Western and you see all those dust balls rolling across the main street just before the main gunfight kicks off, have you ever wondered where they all end up?
No? Well, they end up in my street.
Along with yellow foam-styrene chip cartons, McDonald’s milkshake containers and old copies of The Sport (which could very well become museum items over the coming years).
I tell you this so that you don’t think my street is so clean it looks like something out of Trumpton. (How come Mrs Honeywell’s yapping dogs never foul the pavement, eh? Where are her pooper-scoop and her little plastic shit bag?)
My street is just a messy street. The town planners, when laying out the residential housing grid in the 1950’s, inadvertently created a trash vortex that pulls in rubbish from miles away and dumps it in the gap between my hedge and next door’s garden wall.
Or at least this is what I thought. This is has been my long held belief for years.
But I was finally disabused of this belief last Friday.
Leaving my house I chanced to look across the road where I witnessed a man in his thirties finishing a packet of crisps. Now, given there are public bins not 100 yards away, you’d expect him to screw up the packet and dispose of it responsibly. Well, you would if you were an idealistic fool who think that people actually care about their immediate environment. If, like me, you have a cynical bent you wouldn’t be too surprised to see him screw up the packet and lob it onto the pavement. ‘Cos that’s just how the majority of people behave these days. Like scum.
But no. It seems there was a third option.
This surprisingly well dressed lout carefully flattened out his crisp packet and took considerable pains to slide it between the slats of a neighbour’s fence.
I couldn’t believe it.
I mean, it’s bad enough to throw your litter to the four winds – people do it unthinkingly all the time. But what kind of inconsiderate, thoughtless, selfish prick expends time and energy shoving his rubbish into and onto the property of someone he doesn’t know?
I know, I know. Bigger things are happening elsewhere. This is a small issue.
But I can’t help but think it is somehow representational. There seem to be more and more people around these days who go out of their way to cause problems for others. Not just causing problems accidentally for other people, but deliberately doing it. Planning it. Devising ways to do it. Doing it even when doing it is not even the easiest option.
And what did I do? Nothing. I gave him a hard stare, Paddington Bear style, enough to make him turn around and face me under the iron disapprobation of my censure. But like Paddington I merely felt like I was a lone 3D character in a world of animated 2-dimensional cut-outs, i.e. I was the odd one out in this scenario.
The odd one out for caring and being pissed off at what this guy had done.
I did consider removing the crisp packet and following this guy home and shoving the offending article somewhere prominent on his own property but, I’ll be honest, even though Brian Turner has revamped the menus at the local A&E I am not overly fond of hospital food.
And besides. Why expend all that energy? A good gust of wind and that damned crisp packet will end up behind my front hedge anyway. The world is still the world.
Nothing has really changed.
I never did like Status Quo.