Just this afternoon my husband asked me if I had written a blog post recently, and I replied--no. Well, I hadn't. I explained that I don't have many new thoughts these days--which is not to say I don't have thoughts...I have many. But, I am aware that sometimes I cover the same ground.
All was well, and I was content not to have posted anything...and, then--then. I went to the grocery store. After I had done my shopping, I loaded my bags into my car, and began to return my grocery cart. Immediately next to my car was an open parking space, and on the other side of that space was another car, with two women loading up. They finished as I did, proceeded to get into their car and prepared to drive away. Just before the driver pulled her door shut, I called out to her--excuse me, this grocery cart (which she had left SMACK in the middle of the parking space between us)--are you done with it? Why, yes ma'am, she said. I then asked--did you plan to leave it right there? Yes, ma'am. Well I said--I will be happy to return it with my grocery cart, SO SOMEONE ELSE CAN PARK HERE.
Remember this rant? WWWP? See, I keep thinking the same thoughts--and more than five years ago, I ranted, err--posted about this very subject. And I concluded: what's wrong with people?
This particular time, the grocery store was all of three parking spaces away from where the thoughtless shopper had parked. It really was no big walk. I shook my head as I walked both carts back to the grocery store. Amazingly, the woman was completely unfazed--and did not even thank me.
I think I must ascribe to the broken windows theory of society. The gist of this theory is that an unrepaired broken window in building invites more broken windows. Vandalism flourishes, trash accumulates, and--next thing you know--things fall apart, the center cannot hold. There is something to this theory. When you see something treated carelessly, it takes extra effort to treat it carefully. And it is so easy to imitate the careless behavior and acquiesce to the degradation.
To my daughter's consternation when she was a little girl, I would pick up trash strewn about the floors of public bathrooms. Trash invites more trash. Abandoned grocery carts invite more abandoned grocery carts. Neglect begets neglect.
A saying attributed to Gandhi is: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. I don't know if Gandhi really said that, but the idea resonates with me. Do I wish there weren't grocery carts left here and there in a busy parking lot. You bet--well, then, I have to be the one to take MINE back and sometimes even someone else's.
But, I will still mutter--WWWP?
Photo: not mine, but from a site indicating "in the public domain."