I went to Panera Bread for coffee this morning since they open the earliest. Considering how tired I was, it was also economical since you can have as much caffeine as you require. Do you think 12 refills may have been too many?
The mugs are small.
To my right was a table of little ladies eating their breakfast gabbing away in another language. To my left, a middle-aged man on his laptop and to the front of me was a cute couple in their 20s sitting so close they might have been mistaken for Siamese Twins.
Imagine, all this at 6 a.m.
I watched the ladies gather themselves before departing, leaving all their trash right where it was. In Panera you’re supposed to bring it to a side table when you’re done.
Okay fine, I thought, maybe they didn’t know.
Then the man got up to get more coffee leaving his napkin on the floor when it slid off of his lap.
The snugly couple got up to leave the same time I did. I watched the boy blow his nose in to his napkin and let it fall to the floor. Now I realize he was only operating with one arm since his other one was glued to the waist of his girlie-girl but come on. Who raised him, raccoons?
I didn’t say anything, wanted to but didn’t. It just felt bigger than me, this unconsciousness that seems to have gone viral.
It reminded me of my ex who would never pick his trash up or allow his daughter to in a movie theater. It would drive me crazy. “What do you think these people get paid for?” he’d say time and time again. That may have been the beginning of the end because if I picked up my own water bottle or candy wrapper, he wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the night. Once he even called me a peasant (it’s amazing I didn’t kill him).
I asked my pal Jacques, who’s one of the classiest men I know, if he picks up after himself at the movies. After he regained consciousness he said, “Of course I do, what kind of a question is that?”
I like asking that question. Unfortunately Jacques, along with myself, is in the minority.
Later on I was walking behind a mother with her young son who was around 10. She had bought him a cookie a few blocks back and when he was done she casually watched him throw the waxed paper onto the ground. This time I acted.
I picked it up and said with as much charm as I could fake when I really wanted to grab her by her Burberry collar, “Excuse me, you dropped this.”
She took it, I think from shock, before throwing it in the trash.
I then remembered something my late friend Beth Nelson taught her daughter Amy when she was very small.
Every time we litter the earth cries…
How’s that for parenting?