What floors my bottle-collecting friends is how many empty bottles of water they find on the side of the road. In their mind, people who drink bottled water can do no wrong. After all, they are the parents who don’t let their children drink sugary sodas; the joggers, runners and speed walkers; the back-to-the-earth, organic, grass-fed beef crowd — why on earth would they throw their garbage out of a car window and spoil the natural world they love so much? The answer is not “who is doing this,” but why?
What does a small child do when he’s angry or frustrated? He throws things. What does an angry or frustrated adult do? Ever been golfing with a club thrower? The guy may be president of a bank, but he hasn’t a clue how to channel his anger. We’ve all heard of, or worked for, bosses who throw things. People throw drinks on each other, they “throw” a punch, they throw their husbands’ stuff out on the front lawn. Throwing fast-food waste out a car window says you’re mad at the world.
But why are you taking out your anger on the rest of us? If you don’t like your parents, go tell them, not me. If you hate your job, get another one; don’t take it out on me. If you married someone you hate, whose fault is that? No one twisted your arm. Besides, if throwing trash out the car window solved problems, trust me, everyone would be doing it.
Some days, I think they are.
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life,” “Baby’s First Tattoo” and “Now in Paperback.” He can be reached at email@example.com.