Accidental Litter


I accidentally littered. It’s embarrassing. Humiliating. It’s not what I stand for. I hate littering. I will routinely, yet awkwardly, chase trash down that I’ve dropped. Or that one of my kids has dropped. Tiny Smartie or gum wrappers. Or other absurd pieces of trash. And for the record, I classify used gum as trash. It goes in the trash can. Not on the bottom of a shoe. Or in a curious or hungry kid’s mouth. Yep. That’s happened. One of the things that irritates me the most is when I see a car driving and trash starts flying out the window. What?!!! Un-freakin’-believable. Oh. Was that Taco Bell cup junking up your car? The audacity. Who do you think is going to pick that up? I want to pull up next to them and come up with something really clever and powerful to say. But I don’t want to get road raged. So I just make a really mean face as I nod my head back and forth with a “you oughta be ashamed of yourself” kind of disappointed face. And I vent in my car. “We don’t litter….” And so on. The nerve of some people.

When I’m on a walk or bike ride and I see trash all in the banks of the creek, I get pissed for the ducks. Or turtles or frogs. Or trees or grass or anything living. Like they want to swim around in your trash. I think I’m going to get one of those trash pick-up sticks and get to work around the Indian Creek.

But I have a confession.

Yesterday, I unintentionally joined the club. My van door opened up and two precious papers flew out. Like a prison break escape kind-of-flying out. Maybe they didn’t like the less than desirable living conditions of my van. Maybe they deserved a museum type of environment. A fancy frame, a wall, and some peace and quiet. Anyhow, the Kansas winds blew those water color paintings clear across the parking lot in less than two seconds. I was faced with a bit of a dilemma as I watched the painted rainbow pictures bounce across the pavement. Should I leave my child (in front of the preschool administration) and chase after the “accidental litter” or watch as those caffeinated winds carried the two pieces of artwork north of the river. Or maybe to the Nelson? Only a slight exaggeration. I’m sure someone has found them and put them where they rightfully belong: on a refrigerator. Hopefully, it’s a nice grandma of sorts type of person and not a creeper.

Since my house is totally under control, I’m going to head out to pick up some trash. I feel like I owe it to the environment. Maybe I will try and keep my van a bit cleaner too, so it will pose less of a risk of accidentally littering. See that. I blamed my poor van. I feel like such a jerk, but I’m gonna use all my feels to save the earth or at least the Indian trails.

Where do I get one of those trash pick-up sticks? I should probably wear an orange vest too. When we drove by a federal prison last week, my seven year son casually and confidentially said, “you’ve been there before, right?” Nope. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to federal prison, son. Let’s not go spreading that rumor to your first grade class, ok? However, if your classmates do see me picking up trash on the side of the road, you can tell them it’s an “Accidental Littering voluntary mother’s guilty conscious program” that I started. If there are any other parents who have unexpectedly lost trash due to the unfortunate combination of children opening car doors and the Midwest winds, feel free to join my non-profit organization. I’ll meet you at the creek. I’ve got garbage bags galore.  Bring a trash pick up stick. Or maybe just borrow one from the creek. It won’t mind since its for a good cause.

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