I used to get "a talking to" for what was deemed "making a scene." You know, when I'd call people out for their general assholery. I'd be told it's not polite to do that. It's not good manners to point out when people are doing wrong. Apparently it's just more polite to whisper behind their backs that they're fucktards. Me, I'd rather we just get it out in the open, address the issue and move on.
I've often argued that if no one points out that someone is doing something wrong then how are they to know. "Well it's not your place to tell them" was the rote response. Oh, ok, so who's place is it? "I don't know but it's not yours". So general anarchy is fine because no one can ever correct things? Sounds like a stupid plan to me.
I do try to do things the right way. I try to be polite, I really do. But sometimes these jackalopes just make that impossible. Like what happened today. "Polite" was my first course. When that didn't work I had to let the beast out again. The beast likes it when he gets to come out and play.
See, I was laying in my bunk with the side door open for ventilation. I don't have air conditioning and, even if I did, I usually don't run my truck and waste fuel like that. It's bad on your motor and I spent a lot of money making mine run perfect. So I'm laying there just minding my own business and talking on the phone to my buddy, Chris.
A US Xpress truck was parked next to me here at the Pilot. Suddenly, their passenger door opens up and a big black trash bag hits the ground. Eh, no worries, I'm sure they're just doing a little spring cleaning.
After about an hour of this trash bag lying in the sun next to my open door it starts to smell. Wow, that was quick. So I do the polite thing, I go up front and see someone sitting in the passenger seat of that truck. He's just oblivious to the world it seems.
So I sit there and start motioning until I get his attention. Down goes his window. "Yeah?" That's how he starts the conversation. Man, I hate the laziness implied with "yeah". It just grates on my nerves. But I stay polite. "Excuse me, driver, are you guys going to throw that in a trash can? It kinda smells and my bunk door is open." See? Polite, right?
"Yeah. I'll get it later. I think it's just some bottles and stuff." Ok. So we cleared that up. He's going to pick up his litter. Mission accomplished. We can all go back to happy lives.
Only that didn't happen. I'm still just chatting away with Chris when I see the truck start to drive off about 20 minutes later. I'm in the phone with him, "those bastards just drove off and left their trash! Wait, they're turning left so that means they're going around to the fuel island." At this Pilot that's the only place for a truck to go if they turn left. Unless they're going for a scenic drive on back roads. So Chris was all "well, dammit driver, that wasn't nice of them. I hate litter bugs. Whatcha gonna do?" He's laughing about now because he knows me well enough to know what's coming next.
"Oh, don't worry Chris, I'm about to bring him a present" as I'm putting on shoes and shirt. Yes, you know I grabbed that bag of trash and went for a walk. Yes, I could easily have just taken it over to a trash can and been done with it. But that's just not who I am. This dude blatantly left his trash behind. And he'd lied to me. That's makes it personal. Very little pisses me off quicker than being lied to. Lying is the basest form of disrespect. Wanna piss me off? Lie to me.
I stroll over to the fuel islands and there's Mr U Sux standing there at the fuel island. "Excuse me, driver, you forgot your trash. Since you promised you were going to throw it away I assume it slipped your mind." And I dropped the bag next to him. This dude just stared at me like I grew a second head. Yes, fucktard, I'm talking to you. Of course, I didn't say that. Not polite to call people names and shit.
"Well that's not mine. My co driver threw it out there. It's his trash." Seriously, now you're going to split hairs over whose trash it is?! "Ok. Well then you should have your co driver come throw it away for you. It's not polite to litter. Plus, it just makes the rest of us look bad too." You should've seen the look on this guy's face. I don't think he actually expected me to bring his garbage back to him. "Who are you anyway, asshole, the parking lot police? Why don't YOU throw it away if it bothers you so much?"
Oh no. We're going to have THIS discussion now, eh? "I'll tell you who I am, Sparky. I'm the guy who's going to beat you with your own bag of trash then call US Xpress to explain to them why I did it. THAT'S who I am. I don't give a rat's ass if YOU throw it away or your codriver does but one of you nasty bastards is going to throw your trash in a trash can before you drive off again. Any questions? No? Thought not." (Allow me to state here, I'm not a big guy. I stand 5'11" and I weigh in at 230 give or take. But attitude matters. Most of the time it's about psychological advantage. Some people don't scare easy; I don't scare at all in a one-on-one.) I waited for a response but I think I had just caused the guy to have a stroke or something. He just stood there all open-mouthed staring at the trash bag. Although Mr Nastyass just stood there for a second looking dumbfounded, I'm not dumb enough to say something like that and NOT make sure he's in my peripheral vision as I walk away. But turning to walk away is the universal "I dare you" sign. Most people only grow a set of balls when your back is to them. I figured I'd go grab a milk real quick and come back to see if my words echoed through the dude's head sufficiently. The whole time, of course, Chris was on the phone. So I'm talking to him as I start walking back past the store. He's in my ear laughing his ass off because he knows that of which I'm capable. I can even hear him almost praying the guy does something stupid.
As I'm walking and stewing I turn the corner and there's the store manager who's hearing me vent to Chris about these guys. So now the manager is asking me what's going on. I explain what happened and he gave me a fist bump as he's laughing. Then he figured he'd saunter out to the fuel islands to make sure there was no trash on the ground. Looky there, all trash bags had been thrown away. Including the one I'd dropped at that driver's feet.
Look, I tried to be polite. I tried not to make a big scene. But all you nasty asshats out there... Clean up after yourselves. It's not that difficult, I promise. I promise you, though, if you just drop that shit in the parking lot someone just might get the urge to feed it to you.
Here's the thing: some people will do what's right when no one is looking. Other people will only do what's right when they're shamed into it. It's about character and integrity to me. Granted, people of "good character" won't step up. They'll just mumble behind your back and to other people. People like me, people who apparently just don't care what everyone thinks of them, we will be the ones who ultimately make a change.
It's one thing to bitch about change behind closed doors but America didn't win its freedom because we asked politely. Those guys stood up and made a damn scene. If you want to make a difference then you've gotta be willing to kick up a little dust.
So, at long last, I'm back people! The beast is loose and wandering the country again. You never know, he may be coming to a town near you...