I’ve long since given up on trying to figure out what makes people think it’s completely okay to toss an empty water bottle or a sandwich wrapper onto the verge. I’ve never even attempted trying to fathom how anyone could think it okay to dump a washing machine, or a fridge, or a wardrobe on the side of a country lane. And as for tossing a week’s worth of household trash in a ditch!!!! It’s beyond me.

I despair. I despair of people. But I also pick up after them, as if by being extra-considerate, I can compensate for their assinine behaviour. On a walk last weekend, as is my wont, I brought along my black bin bag to pick up rubbish casually tossed aside by others who had walked or cycled the path before me. Picking up after random strangers isn’t exactly my idea of a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but I was out walking anyway, and it added some purpose to my day. No, there’s no need to point it out. I, too, can feel the stirrings of my inner martyr. But at least when I climb up on my sanctimonious soapbox, my view of my surrounds will be litter free.

It comes down to personal responsibility and the wanton abdication thereof. That’s my theory. People no longer take responsibility for their actions and in equal measure are no longer held accountable for what they do. We look, we see, we choose to ignore. We look, we see, but we rarely (if ever) say – Hey! That’s not okay.

Queue jumping is a case in point. I’m guilty, too, of sitting back and marvelling at the brazenness of my fellow travellers, usually Hungarian women a little older then I am, on the Dublin-Budapest flight; I take a perverse delight in the dissenting murmurings of Irish passengers who look, see, and say nothing. And why don’t they? Because in the grand scheme of things, the plane won’t (usually) leave without us and if Néni really wants to get on the plane before me and is that desperate, then let her have at it. I don’t have the language skills to explain the meaning of consideration, but occasionally, I can work the look.

Today, when I noticed that at some point since I parked the car last week, someone driving a yellow car dented mine, I was pissed off. Big time. I’d woken to no water (which thankfully is now back), so I wasn’t the cleanest of mind or body. I’d have thought I’d have noticed it had been dented when I was packing the car to come down the village yesterday. Or after I’d stopped in for groceries. But it wasn’t until I got into it this morning that I spied the tell-tale yellow paint and the dent. I’m sure it was a taxi driver (or someone driving a taxi) because the paint isn’t paint; it’s that synthetic coating that all cars wanting to be taxis had to get a few years back. It’ll wash off. But the dent won’t.

Whoever did it had to have felt it. It’s a decent size. They could have left a note to fess up to doing it … but they didn’t. They drove away. Someone else might well have seen them do it. But if they did, they didn’t say anything either. Now, again, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just another nail in my people coffin. I’m not worried about the insurance claim – I’d just like some ownership of the damage. I’m not overly concerned about the aesthetics – Ime has racked up some miles and this is just the first wrinkle on an ageing body. But I am bothered by the anonymity.

And yes, perhaps they had their stereo up so loud they didn’t hear or feel anything. Or perhaps it was dark and they thought they’d hit something else. Or perhaps they shouldn’t have been driving in the first place… but, no, that takes me back to responsibility. Perhaps I’m being unfair. Perhaps I am.

And yes, I know it happens daily, if not hourly, in towns and cities all over the world. And yes, it could have been a million times worse; someone could have been hurt or killed. I know this. I accept this. But my ownerless dent still rankles. When my water came back on and I got to have my shower, I spent my three minutes wondering what our world would look like if we all took ownership of our actions rather than tried to get away with what we can get away with? But I can’t see anyone jumping that particular queue…

dented car




Subscribe to get notified when I publish something new.

5 Responses

  1. You’re rocking my world now, Mary … I’m one of those idiots/good people who go out occasionally with a big black bag to gather up the crap left all over the walkway between our gaff and the town park. Earmarked once upon whenever for phase three of our estate that never happened it’s not the most aesthetic pleasing anyway, but the amount of littler !!!! Like you say there is an epidemic of lack of accountability and responsibility. And it starts at the top, so I can’t see that changing anytime soon. We ca but keep our end up. Yours in Sanctimony…

    1. I daydream about going down the road with a wheelbarrow and cleaning the verges in and out of the village… but I worry that I might cause some traffic accidents. Picking up litter is such an unusual sight 🙂

  2. I’m a clearer-up on walks too! I like that on backwoods hiking trails in the USA there are discrete signs saying ‘Leave no trace’. – If only.

  3. There must be some small Hungarian garage that could sort that out economically without you having to make an insurance claim…………the dent would be easy to pull out. Not nice if you have been keeping the car (however old) in good condition…… sympathies.

Talk to me...

%d bloggers like this:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information on cookies and GDPR

Cookies and GDPR Compliance

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

General Data Protection Regulation

If you have voluntarily submitted your email address so that you can receive notifications of new posts, please be assured that I don't use your address for anything other than to do just that - and that's done automatically. I might use your address, if I knew how to, but I don't.

This blog does not make money, it does not carry sponsored content, it has no ads for which I receive any form of payment. If I review a place or a restaurant or a book, I don't receive any compensation from anyone. I wish I did, but that would require marketing myself and life is too short. If something changes, I will be sure to let you know.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe or manage subscription links at the bottom of every email you receive. When you comment on a blog post, Google Analytics tracks where you're posting from. This is stored and I can check my stats to see how many clicks I had today, where people clicked from, and what they clicked on. That's it. Nothing more.

I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, particularly to other commenters. If you want to have one of your comments deleted, the please get in touch with me at: I'm all for the right to be forgotten so will happily oblige.

So, in a nutshell, if you give me your email address voluntarily to subscribe to new posts or if you opt to subscribe to new comments, then you email is just used for this. Nothing else. Promise.