Yesterday a Winterfresh wrapper flew out of a girl's bag about ten paces ahead of me on my walk home from the el. I could see my apartment window. The one I put the little ghost in. I guess I need to take that down now. The wrapper flew out and bounced in the wind a moment. I had about twenty seconds to decide what to do. My first instinct was to pick it up because litter. Then I wondered, "Why should I?" After all, it wasn't my trash. After all, I am a pretty good eco citizen. Then I wondered if anyone was watching me and if possibly I might make some money. (This is a very common irrational thought I have potentially spurred by my dad's staple bedtime stories coming from The Children's Book of Virtues. In those stories, good is always rewarded--even tiny good. In fact, it almost seems as thought the more inconsequential good deed bears the most fruit. Like, there were at least four stories about a little sweetheart helping a mouse in the forest and then the mouse gives the chick, like, a million diamonds. Idk it's more complicated than that, but regardless, there is a small part of my brain reserved for impossible possibilities like leprechauns popping and giving me a pot of gold as soon as my hand touched the discarded plastic.) THEN, I wondered if I would have to split my fortune with litterbug up there. After all, she's a big reason why I got to be so rich. Drat. That's obnoxious.
So I picked up the wrapper. Nothing happened. I stuffed it in my pocket and threw it away in my kitchen. I understand the sudden buck at cleaning up after others. We like to think, "But I clean up after myself!" And, sure, most of the time that is true. I don't think I've ever flat-out littered. But, what do I know?! The girl in front of me didn't know.