Small thing perhaps

by Captain Walker

Categories: Humanities

Sometimes you see something that raises a question mark in your mind – but the question (before the question mark) is not properly formed and you think to yourself “Life’s to short.. I can’t be bothered” – and you don’t spend any more effort on it, formulating a question.

20130428_141430But then the same thing hits you again! And again.. and again! And then the question forces itself upon you eventually. It starts of as “Why?”  or “How?” And as time goes on other words come after that first questioning word.

At the left – you’re watching a  shopping trolley with two pieces of paper in it. So you’re probably thinking, “Blimey.. he’s flipped out for sure now, if that’s what has a upset him”. Amazing how people know I’m so deeply upset before I even know it – and it seems not to matter whether I’m actually upset at all. All that matters is what’s in their heads.

Well, I’m not upset. I’m perplexed and disappointed – yes, by two pieces of paper being left in the trolley. If that’s ‘upset’ in your vocabulary.. fine! Before you start, I have loads of paper strewn around my office at home. I like it that way – because I can find whatever I want in the rubble, it is my office and no one else is meant to use it. And no I’m not a supporter of ‘organised chaos’ or whatever next comes into your head.

So what’s it about two pieces of paper in a trolley? You wish for me to get on with it quickly. Tough – I’m writing this for me, not for you. You’ll have to wait or leave.

Repeatedly, when I go to various supermarkets in the UK, I see the same phenomenon. You’ve done your shopping, take your goods away out of the trolley but decide that it’s for somebody else – or perhaps mother nature – to take care of your shopping list and your receipt. Why? Why should you decide so? Or maybe you don’t decide – you just forget to take them away with you. Who am I speaking to? The usual question intrudes. Chrysst! I’m speaking to hypothetical idiots who leave their pieces of papers in the trolley – and to you if you do the same!

I call it littering – even if it’s not legally defined as littering. You’re leaving unwanted pieces of material behind for someone else, or the elements to take care off. That’s wrong. It’s inconsiderate. I mean I have no problem if people want to leave pieces of paper strewn around their own living space – that’s their business, it’s their space and it may or may not affect a minority of private persons sharing your space. But littering so that it impacts on members of the public in general is wrong.

When used the trolley above. It took me less than 1 second to take the papers out and put them in a bin just 5 feet away. That leads me to think, why is it that the person who left them in the trolley couldn’t do the same. The key issue is that it’s not important to them personally. Yes – they’re not interested at a personal level how their behaviour impacts on potentially large numbers of people. This is why I’m sometimes not sympathetic when laws have to be passed and enforced on small things. If there was a law that people who left behind pieces of paper in their trollies would be arrested and beaten with a cat-o-nine tail at a local police station – now that would raise the level of importance of the issue to individuals. Yes – personal suffering is a thing that is important to individuals, but suffering caused to the environment or unseen others is largely not a personal issue or one that anybody can truly feel any discomfort about.

I saw the individual who left the trolley with the papers. It crossed my mind to point out to her, that she should take away her rubbish. But then I could be reported to the police for ‘harassment’ – so we just leave it there – and wait – and hope that some law is developed that brings pain rapidly to people who behave as captioned above.

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