I think of myself a corporate migrant worker. I wake up in the morning at 6:04 a.m. I shower the night before so all I have to do is get dressed, grab my ipod, grab my phone, pack a lunch and head out the door by 6:26 a.m. I walk about two blocks to the lovely Oakland Coliseum BART station where I board a train bound for South San Francisco – the Balboa Park BART station to be exact. But the journey does not end there! I grab a cup of coffee and wait for the shuttle. At 7:35 a.m., I hop on the free commuter shuttle that plops me down right in front of the Hitachi Building in Brisbane California at 8:00 a.m. That’s quite a lot of work to do before even getting to work! But I do it. I do it for the love of my sanity and the love of the planet.
I hate driving. Seriously. The thought of getting in my car and sitting in Bay Bridge traffic first thing in the morning makes me want to bury my head under the covers of and pray for a Zombie attack. And that is not even half as bad as the traffic going home! Forget about it! At least on BART I get to read, or sleep or knit wool stockings if I want too. I am willing to forsake a little bit of my time in order to save myself from miles of aggravation. I have been know to call a driver or two some unpleasant terms. It seems that while driving, my otherwise patient nature takes a catnap and is replaced by an impatient bitch. So, to keep her on a short leash I opt for public transportation. Bay Area drivers are grateful.
Also, I am like totally saving the planet. Yep. That’s me! Single handedly saving mother earth from melting away just like that wicked old witch at the end of The Wizard of Oz. I am not emitting anything (except my own sweet smelling breath, and occasional, um, other types of things that smell) all day. Gas costs $3.20 a gallon! What the hell? I think it is not only crazy to drive twenty-four miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but I think it is irresponsible too. I saw that Al Gore movie! I know the truth! The polar ice caps are melting and soon India, San Francisco and, heck if we are lucky, Texas will be consumed by water. I feel good about not being one of those people who sit in their idling cars day after day, hour after hour, while carbon dioxide is being trapped here from the tail pipe of their gas-guzzling car.
But today, I came to the conclusion that social consciousness has to start way before we get in our cars to drive to work, or even take the bus. The place to start is a simple place of long ago, a place called manners. MANNERS! A little decorum would be a great place to start. To wit: this morning while I was waiting for my shuttle bus to arrive, I saw a man pull up to the curb in his car and (wait for it…) throw out a Styrofoam food container and a bunch of trash! He just shoved it out the door! I was stunned. I felt a surge of eco hate make its way through my veins. Before I could yell at him, he was gone. I looked around to share my outrage with my fellow commuters but no one else seemed to notice.
One guy was too busy spitting on the sidewalk to notice. Another guy literally threw his empty coffee cup over his shoulder instead of walking the ten feet to the trashcan.
I was outraged and couldn’t take it anymore. I marched right up to the coffee cup man and said, “There is a trash can right there! Why did you just throw that on the ground?”
He looked at me as if I were speaking to him in Klingon and then kind of growled at me. I walked away feeling that I had at least alerted one sorry slob to the ways of normal people. I mean really, I think the very least any of us could do, the absolute bare minimum here, is to throw our own crap in the trashcan. I don’t know how we can expect people to “respect the planet” by giving up riding in cars when we can’t even get people to respect each other! How about we start by doing some really simple things like say, not hocking a sick loogie in front of innocent bystanders. Or maybe insisting that people throw away their trash – in a trashcan.
So, I guess the moral to take away here is this: Next time you feel like just leaving your popcorn bucket and candy wrappers in the movie theatre – throw them away. If you see some lady throwing her screaming kid’s American Cheese wrapper on the ground, you have my full permission to walk right up to her and say, “I think you should pick that up and set a good example for your kid there.”
And then run like hell because people are crazy man, crazy.