A Shocking Story of Discarded Peanut Shells
I was told by a friend who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, about the throwing of trash into the air shaft outside her building. She told me that not only was there an accumulation of trash at the bottom, but also that many articles thrown out find their home on her window sills, air conditioner, etc.
On a recent visit to her apartment, I was able to look at and photograph the mess. She encouraged me to do so - documenting this would aid her in any action to remedy the situation.
She told me that the litter was not just the product of things dropped accidentally but also a deliberate throwing of goods. One of those committing the offense is the owner of the neighboring building, making it even more difficult to put a stop to this activity. Among the treasure trove was what appeared to be a used condom.
One often wonders what drives individuals to behave in such disgusting ways. Let me share with you a story that illustrates one man's thinking.
I had a high school classmate whom I did not really know at the time I was attending school. Years later, he opened a shop in my hometown in Connecticut, which I began to frequent. I quickly saw that we had little in common, and I understood why we had different circles of friends in school that did not overlap. As I would learn, however, his values were much further from mine than I could imagine.
There are always at least a few common interests between any two people, so on my visits shopping at his store, I would have a chat. We maintained a casual acquaintance. As one is sometimes inclined to do, I extended an open invitation to him to stay with me in New York City. The lure of this city is great, and the prospect of a free stay in town is, for many, too much to resist. So, one day, Bob took me up on my offer, and I found him at my doorstep.
In the time he stayed in my home, he developed a romantic interest with a friend whom I had introduced him to. On one trip to my hometown to visit family, this friend asked to come along to visit Bob.
I don't recall why, but they stayed at a cheap motel for that weekend. On my return to New York City, I stopped to pick up my friend. When I entered the room, I witnessed a scene that, to me, was quite shocking.
Both were dressed and ready to go. Bob, however, was lying clothed on the bed, eating shelled peanuts from a bag. As he ate and conversed, he would take the shells and deliberately throw them one by one on the floor. When I say deliberately, I mean just that. Not dropping them or trying to throw them in a receptacle, but throwing them some distance with GLEE. A pile of shells and debris had formed, and he seemed quite pleased.
When I confronted him, he responded with one of the most shocking things I have heard in my life. I asked him why he was doing this and, even though he was in a motel with maids, didn't he feel badly about making such a mess on purpose? And he said:
"That's what you pay for."
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