Thursday, May 30, 2013


Driving in to work this morning, I noticed a lot of litter on one of the streets near my home.  This is not really a strange situation as this street habitually has litter on it.  In fact, it is one of the streets in this rag tag town I live in that looks the worst 8 out of 7 days of the week.  I also know that litter is not a major issue to most people.  But then again, I am not most people and it bothers the heck out of me.

I continue to try to come to terms about how people can live in unkempt conditions.  I get really upset when I come home and have to police the area in front of my house and pick up soda bottles, discarded napkins, French fry boxes, and the like.  Why don't others do the same?  It boggles the mind. 

Litter is just another broken window which is part of a theory about crime in urban environments. 
The theory states that maintaining and monitoring urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism and escalation into more serious crime.
Many have subscribed to this theory (which you can read about here) including me, and the upshot of it is that one way to control crime is to pick up the litter as well as maintain an orderly environment. I also understand that generally people think I am nuts to be so obsessed with getting the litter off the streets, and fortunately I am not the only one on my block who cares this much.  Regardless, considering that in my little block things rarely happen, I think picking up the litter on a daily basis supports the broken window theory and until otherwise I am a staunch believer. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just Not Right

I was always taught that when someone does something nice for you, you should reciprocate in some way.  My mother sat by me on countless occasions helping me pen thank-you note after thank-you note after every birthday and Christmas writing notes to everyone who gave me anything.  When I was in college, she would call me and remind about writing a note to thank someone for had done something, so I guess it was engrained into me from childhood. So it is with incredulousness that I shake my head when I don't see the same courtesy afforded to someone who I feel has gone above the call of duty to help someone else, even if what they did was a job.

In the business that I am working in now, it is our job to help others.  We train people on how to be effective in running for office or organizing for the Democratic party in their area.  We give them pointers and help them design literature that will help them win.  It is a pretty thank-less job for the most part so when someone thanks us for helping them achieve their goal it is kind of unusual.  But then again, we one has gone out of their way and done a spectacular job and helped another person win a very tough election, I kind of expect that effort would be noted.

A person in our office did just that.  He helped guide a candidate through an election that could very easily been lost - a tough write-in campaign.  He designed the candidate's literature, ran her lists of people to talk to, gave her pointers on what to do on Election Day, and after it was all said and done and the candidate won by a large majority, the candidate put a letter in the paper thanking everyone except him.  Not one mention was made.  Perhaps this candidate thought the person was just doing their job and didn't deserve a mention.  Perhaps this candidate forgot the work that this person did for them.  Perhaps this candidate was blinded by their victory and couldn't see past the confetti floating down from the ceiling to the person who was largely responsible for the confetti.  Perhaps... Whatever it was, it is just not right, so even though it wasn't me who won the election, I thank him for all that he does to help others achieve their dreams.  I know it's not the same because it didn't come from the person who should have given it, but I thank him just the same.  Thank you, Joe.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Me, Me, Me

I ran into an older man at the grocery store over weekend who was remarking about the attitude of people under 40 while we were standing in line at the checkout.  There was a magazine cover featuring its cover story entitled "Me, Me, Me Generation" and he said to me "Yup, that's everyone under 40."  We went on to talk about all the inconsiderate people we had run into lately.  I would gather to say he was in his 60s and he seemed a little bitter about the whole thing.

I have often remarked to my husband as he drives and comments about other drivers, that it might make him feel better to understand that most people don't think about anyone else other than themselves.  People will stop in the middle of the street and talk to people out their car windows who are on the sidewalks or even on their porches.  People in the grocery store will leave their cart in the middle of the aisle while they go off and look for something.  People will walk slowly down the street in the middle of the sidewalk while checking their phones oblivious of others trying to get around them.  It is pretty annoying, but I generally thought I was the only one that observed that trait.

There is a even a new term, meme, that comes from an idea or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.  The term originated from the book The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins where he writes that evolution depends on the existence of a self-replication of a gene which he says can explain human behavior and cultural evolution. The Time Magazine article, that my elderly grocery store checkout line companion observed talks about the Millennials, the generation who are in their 20s now.  However in their defense, these people are setting the stage for the future and generally they are more liberal which could mean a "shift away from the politics of resentment", and more responsible as the teen pregnancy rate has dropped by 42%.  Finally, they are generally a more optimistic lot as most of their adult lives has been through a period of economic growth.  All these things might be true, I just wish I could get around them at the grocery store.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Moment of Tranquility

This morning I had a little time before work and I went out to the garden to check on the state of things.  It had rained yesterday and I wanted to make sure the the pepper plants I had hardening out there had gotten some water.  I decided to sit on the bench and relax a bit and snapped this picture.  I realize that I have to repaint the little statue, but just sitting on the bench was so tranquil and peaceful, it was hard to imagine that my house is in the middle of a city like environment.

I spent some time trying to imagine living in a big city where many people don't have a space to call their own and came to the realization that I would not be able to handle that situation.  I imagined that I would have to have an apartment with a roof top garden or something where there was some plant life at least.  I have read a lot about Urban Gardening and know there are many things one can do with small spaces.  I feel very fortunate that I have a yard that I can have my flowers and vegetables growing and have dirt under my feet - not to mention my fingernails which always seems to be the case having a garden.

I ran out of coffee last week and haven't had any for a week because I didn't have time to go to the grocery store last week.  At first I thought it was really going to bother me, but found it hasn't.  I only mention this because sitting out there this morning I really missed having a steaming cup of coffee and made a note to myself that when I get coffee for my morning cup, it should be in this very spot.  The little bit of time I had this morning really set my day off right.