The older I get, the more people annoy me. More specifically, it’s their lack of consideration for others, for their environment, for my space that bugs me. Maybe I don’t have enough to be thinking about. Or perhaps it’s a curl of curmudgeonry signposting just how cantankerous I’m going to get. But I’m fit to be tied.
We’ve had visitors this weekend and that always warrants a trip to the Island, Kányavári sziget, on the Kis Balaton. It’s a gem of a spot that I’ve written about before. A birder’s paradise. A fisherman’s haven. A walker’s dream. It’s at its best this time of year, with the autumnal colours, the grey skies, and the notable lack of visitors.
The fishermen were at their usual stands, some notable by their absence. And perhaps because the leaves were falling and the bushes were bare, I could see beyond the foliage to the rubbish. Plastic bottles. Beer cans. Plastic bags. Even a broken deck-chair. What possesses people not to take their rubbish with them when they leave? What makes them think that it’s perfectly okay to litter, to leave a mess, to toss their garbage in the water or into the reeds? What sort of rearing did they get? What were they taught in school? How come they are so bloody inconsiderate?
Despite the tranquility, despite the still air and the calming waters, I was working myself up into a right vent. WTF! How difficult is it to pack a trash bag? They must have carried in their stuff in a bag… surely it’s not asking too much to carry it out again? In the same bloody bag? What brain cell wasn’t working when they decided just to get up and walk away from it all? It’s no wonder the world is so screwed up.
Many years ago, a nun I had in school – Mother Patrick – asked us how long it would take to clean the streets of Paris. We answered in days, weeks, and months. She said it would take just 10 minutes – if everyone cleaned outside their own front door. Our village is clean. Very clean. It’s well kept and tidy. No litter. Nothing lying around. But the island is another story. Admittedly, it’s not as bad as it might be, but it’s a slow creep.
Next time. I’ll pack a bin bag and pick up other people’s trash. Not because I want to clean up after them, but because of a comment from Bill Bryson I read a while back:
In the countryside, litter doesn’t have a friend. It doesn’t have anybody who’s saying, ‘Wait a minute, this is really starting to get out of control.