Don’t Be An Idiot!

It’s a good thing we had the Feast of the Assumption celebration again this year here in Little Italy. It was looking pretty sketchy with the constant thunder boomers we’ve been having and their deluges of torrential tropical rain.

Two of four festival days were indeed wet, but I’m sure the restaurants and other merchants were pretty pleased after how bad the weather had looked and having to scrub the event last year due to COVID.

Nonetheless, the mess left behind where we live is substantial each year, so my wife and I do our part when we head out to get coffee and take a trash bag to pick up some of the detritus revelers indiscriminately drop around the neighborhood. We do this whenever we walk, but the mornings after the Feast it’s especially gnarly.

Beer and soda cans, food containers and wrappers and discarded masks make up the bulk of the litter. Calling it litter is being a little too polite. It’s garbage, and the people that leave their personal waste behind worry me.

And I have a theory about them. I don’t think the bulk of humanity is this thoughtless and inconsiderate. Just enough are and are consistently so, and they seem to actually enjoy being arrogant, destructive and annoying.

I’m convinced it’s the same group of people that dangerously speed up and down the hill we live on at 50 mph or more where the speed limit is 25. There are tons of pedestrians and bike riders on the hill, but these nimrods are oblivious to the risks they create.

We put out signs politely asking them to slow down, but they stole the signs, much like the political candidate signs we put out that were stolen or defaced with obscenities.

This is not specific to our neighborhood either. There are lots of places we walk and almost get run down in clearly marked crosswalks and have to dodge the rental scooters left lying as hazards on the sidewalk.

And almost anywhere you go, you’re likely to catch some able-bodied person snagging a parking spot designated for those with physical challenges or find that two parking spots have been commandeered by that narcissist with the fancy ego-car. It amazes me too that those that still smoke consider the world to be their ashtray. It’s particularly gross at the beach.

So my theory is that it is the same, relatively small, peevishly selfish contingent of morons that do these things, and they are likely the same people that jump lines, ride motorcycles without helmets, have audible conversations at concerts and movies and explode illegal fireworks incessantly in the middle of the night.

That’s just who they are. “It is what it is,” I’ve heard some say about exceedingly rude behavior like this.

And at quite another level still is the social belligerence from these people that causes them to reject science and logic during a pandemic and refuse to wear masks or get a shot to protect themselves, their loved ones or others around them. It’s their right they say. It’s their right to be colossal idiots, actually.

So, as we’re picking up the trash deposited around the neighborhood, it just strikes me then that it is not odd at all that we are now experiencing the disastrous effects of an accelerating climate crisis that threatens the carrying capacity of our very ecosystem. The way our neighborhood is treated by some is much the same as the way the ecosystem has been treated by many.

It’s a climate crisis that has been caused by all humans to be sure, but one that most people with reasonable intelligence readily grasp and want to do something about. Many of us have tried without success to prevent this horrific outcome for decades.

But much like the COVID crisis, just enough buffoonish miscreants have supported just enough greedy science deniers in public office who have prevented action and let this climate cataclysm evolve uncontrolled over the last 50 years.

Seemingly small insults to our humanity and our world aggregate and proliferate in exponentially powerful ways, and now put all of us in peril.

And that is horribly sad.

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Arthur Hargate

Arthur Hargate

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Arthur Hargate is retired after a 40-year management career in the environmental services business. He now writes, plays guitar and is a social activist.