The other day I was walking down (or maybe up) some street somewhere (don’t you love how precise I’m being? I mean, you can almost see the street now, can’t you?), and this guy ahead of me had a bottle he wished to dispose of (a/k/a “trash”), but rather than just drop the thing onto the ground with either the defiance or insouciance displayed by so many other people who litter, he actually walked over to a trashcan to throw it away. At first he took a bit of ginger care to place his bottle atop the heap that was already there, and I found myself smiling at and applauding his tenacity. I started feeling slight stirrings of magnanimity not only for this individual man but for “man” as a collective whole, and just as I began thinking Maybe not everyone in the world is an inconsiderate slob with no respect for the planet, I was forced to renege.
It turned out that in his attempt to place his bottle into the overflowing mess, he displaced several others, which clattered and crashed to the ground surrounding the trashcan. For the one bottle that he tossed away, at least three others were dislodged, thus defeating the purpose of even bothering to throw his own away in the first place. So just as quickly as I’d experienced a rare moment magnanimity, his ignomity incurred my enmity. (Don’t I sound smart?) Because for one fleeting moment I was willing to suspend my usual attitude toward people, only to have that feeling displaced as quickly as the trash was.