Picking up trash
On my way back from work, waiting at the red light at the intersection of Michigan Ave and Franklin Street. I hear some noise coming from the car next to mine. I turn my head to see a woman dumping the rest of her diner (?) on the street. A half eaten burger, a mustard container, a couple of used napkins, a paper bag with a large yellow mark, all are now on the pavement. It's disgusting and I tell her. Not surprisingly she is upset by my intervention.
"If it bothers you, pick it up" she answers. For some reason, I don't get upset at all, not even sarcastic. I just smile and shake my head in disbelief. "Come on!" I say, "this is just disgusting. Is DC your home town? Do you live here?" She seems to want to get even more upset but the driver is laughing and his laughters seem to take some steam out of her. She throws something at my car (some paper cup half filled with soda) while shouting "I can hear you're not from here! Don't tell me DC is your hometown!!"
Maybe it's the heat, but I can't muster the energy to lose my temper. I stay calm, still smiling and pointing across the street while saying "I mean, the guy who lives in this house is going to cross the street and find this garbage. It's just not nice you know...". When she answers, she is not shouting anymore. Almost a plea. "People need the jobs. If there were no garbage in the streets, they'd loose their jobs...". The light is about to turn green and I smile "Not in the middle of the street, baby, not in the middle of the street". She smiles back. The agressivity is gone.
Maybe DC is her hometown. It surely is mine