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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

That's What You Pay For

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."

Related Posts: Shortly Before Execution, Random Acts of Consideration, $7.95 a Pound, Insult to Injury, PDA


Thérèse said...

The shovel is probably the only intruder here!

Karen said...

Maybe it's because I'm from Canada. I just don't understand. What ever happened to having a conscience or human decency? I can't imagine doing this anywhere or to anyone. My Grandmother would come back from the grave and beat my arse if I did anything like that. Poor behaviour. Sad.

s.c said...

Now its a hazard for your health.In a thousand years a lucky find for a archeologist. But a shame for a city like NY.Still a good urban shot

Mary P. said...

I think some people intentionally throw away people too.

Sue K said...

I just have no words!

Anonymous said...

This is timely. Had a conversation this week about how some people abuse the bathroom in my office building just because the cleaning person is paid to do the job. Its selfish and not respectful, and should not be tolerated.

time traveler said...

Complete show of disrespect for ones self as well as others..How can you leave a mess like this behind knowing full well that another will have to clean up after you?? Unfortunately those who create scenes like this are not the ones that have to clean them up..

Brian Dubé said...

Thérèse - that's true.

Karen - Canada is known here for their clean cities, which obviously reflects on the good habits of the people.

Mary P - point well taken. That's our society now.

Sue K - I had no words either and I never saw him again.

Anon and time traveler - lack of respect is the phrase I neglected to use.

Rosilee said...

I don`t understand people like that at all....
I have spent numerous vacations in Vancouver and Vancouver Island and that is one of the things that I liked about it and the people of course. I live in Germany and the cities here are also very clean and tidy, the only problem is with dog poop, they haven`t got their act together yet about cleaning that up.

Leslie said...

Wow, trip down a memory lane I never would have remembered! The 'peanut' attitude...probably why I never spent another night with the guy.

Living in Chinatown I have the same frustrations as your Brooklyn friend. I just do not understand the attitude that our backyard, or any gutter, sidewalk or doorway, is an acceptable (mindless / disrespectful / disgusting) place to toss anything one does not want on or near one's being. That includes the belief and practice of urinating in the small entrance to my building without regard to the fact that other human beings live here. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Brian Dubé said...

I see that you are not obsessed with privacy. Yes, Leslie was the friend I picked up at the cheap motel and we both said our final good byes to the man with no respect.

Chicken Underwear said...

I used to have friend like that. Used to.

Brian Dubé said...

Chicken Underwear - Good call :)

Chicken Underwear said...

Unfortunately, I have a very close relative who refused to sort his recycling. He said "I pay my taxes so other people can do that"

Brian Dubé said...

Chicken Underwear - I did not want to add another anecdote to my story, but I had another similar incident with an acquaintance who was ticketed for littering. When confronted, he said exactly the same thing - we pay people to do that.
Amazing really.