Making the World a Better Place

by pjmcbride

photography of bus stop during winter

Photo by Micael Widell on

…one bus stop at a time. And I hope I never get stuck at the bus stop in this picture. It looks like a criminal mastermind stuck it out in the creepy woods, but when you sit down, it whisks you away to their arctic headquarters. Or something. It’s just too new for such a remote area, you know? Plus that creepy blue light. And is that snow or rocks piled up by the side of the road? WELL?

Anyway, I have made it my mission (and a modest one it is) to clean up any trash I find at the bus stop near my house. Especially since this only involves taking it across the $ General lot and throwing it in the trash can there.

I tell you this not to give myself a Good Citizen award, but to note a weird facet of human psychology I’ve observed in the course of doing this.

Once, back when it was still cold, I saw a blanket and a sack of clothes on the bench. I thought surely someone must have forgotten these items, so I left them undisturbed so the person could come back and get them. But they remained undisturbed, blocking access to the bench. But the Real Problem was that, as the days passed, more  trash got piled up on top of them–more and faster than I’d usually observed. Apparently the presence of a significant pile over several days convinced people that this was a Designated Drop-Off Site and it was OK to leave their trash there as well. So I gingerly picked up everything and carted it to the Dollar General Dump, and trash deposit returned to its former occasional occurrence. Although if I ever share the stop with the person who keeps leaving gallon containers partially-filled with pink fluid (some sort of “juice drink”–the flavors vary, but it’s always pink), I may have to address them directly.  (“And get your finger dislocated again,” Nick says, in his capacity as my Life Coach.)


Which is worse:

–a sidewalk overgrown with weeds, because the homeowner thinks that A.) the City sends somebody by to take care of it, or B.) no one actually uses the sidewalk, right?


–a sidewalk overgrown with weeds which the homeowner has dealt with by means of chemical spray, which leaves them dead and brown, BUT STILL STANDING THERE??