When was the last time you saw someone throw a piece of trash out of their car window?

I hope it’s been a long time, because I recently witnessed this disrespectful act and it was like someone punched me in the gut.

I was driving down the freeway and the driver of the car in front of me rolled down their window. That didn’t get my attention, but when they stuck out the empty water bottle, twirled it around like a lasso, and then let it go…GUT SHOT.

I think I actually said out loud, “Are you kidding me? Did that really just happen?” (I actually included some colorful language in there as well. I’ll let you add those yourself when you close your eyes and actually visualize someone being this rude.)

I guess I really shouldn’t be shocked. Just pay attention as your driving down the road and look at all the trash. It had to get there somehow, right?

Sacks of fast food.
Beer bottles.
Plastic bags.

It really is unbelievable 
when you think about it.

A couple of weeks ago, Tanya and I got to see this phenomena first hand when we participated in a local trash clean up (North Richland Hills Trash Bash). For two hours on Saturday morning, we picked up trash along a half-mile stretch of road north west of Fort Worth.

This was NOT a punch to the gut.
This was a continuous whack of a baseball bat to the face.

It was nothing short of unbelievable 
how much garbage two people in a VERY 
small area picked up in a two-hour period 
of time.

The bed of my pick-up was full. We had a few large items (boards, logs, pieces of tires, etc.), but most of it was trash.

Here is a quick breakdown (for the photo gallery click here):

• Every fast food restaurant was represented, with Taco Bell winning, hands down. (“What should I do with this hot sauce packet? Hell, I’ll just throw it out the window.”)

• Not a single beer distributor was left out of the clean up.

• We didn’t pick up every cigarette butt, but that could have easily filled another two trash bags. (“Oh, it’s so small….it doesn’t matter if I flick this out the window.”)

• Water and soda bottles were pretty prevalent on this stretch of road.

• People must think that candy wrappers and chip bags are biodegradable.

• Random articles of clothing?

• Newspapers, grocery sacks, and lottery tickets were significant.

• Tanya found a half dozen bouncy balls. I concluded they were from a Jack in the Box kids meal – there was one across the street.

• Some of the most 
interesting things we found were an ear pad to a football helmet, a family photo (right), and a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Towards the end of our morning clean-up effort, I started to develop a profile of these lazy people who roll down their windows and use our planet as their personal garbage can.

They are Taco Bell-eating smokers, who like to read the newspaper and scratch off their lottery tickets on the way home from the liquor store. During the drive home, they are throwing back a couple colds ones, some of them are stripping, and they’re ALL being disrespectful and lazy pigs.

Again, it’s unbelievable.

As I was filling my tenth garbage sack, I started asking myself if I was actually adding to the problem by participating in this clean-up effort.

As the residents of the near-by neighborhoods drove by us that morning, where they thinking to themselves, “Hell, I should throw MORE crap out the window. Those poor schmucks will clean it up.”

When are people going to take pride in our town and cities? When are they going to take pride in their neighborhoods? When are they going to stop being lazy – not to mention disrespectful and rude?

When are our city officials going to hold people accountable? When are other people going to confront these litter pigs and let them know that enough is enough?

As I think back to my water bottle cowboy, who twirled his trash before letting it fly…what could I have done? Chase him down? Cuss him out when he got out of his car? Picked a fight and got my butt beat?

I guess if I’m not willing to do that…I should check the local calendar for Trash Bash 2009, huh?

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