I walked twice today…twice! Getting back into the swing of things after a long winter’s gap. It’s not that I never walked during the colder months, but it was much more difficult to motivate myself. Now, though, the weather is perfect.
Along my usual route this morning, I came upon a grocery cart. It was sitting along the sidewalk on a back street. As soon as I spied it, I remembered having first seen it months ago. In all that time, no one had returned it to where it belonged.
Why would that be? Someone must have pushed from the store that owned it. Perhaps it was someone who needed it to get home but couldn’t make the return trip? Or maybe it was hooligans that rattled that thing a mile and then just left it lie? Or maybe someone just didn’t feel like taking it back? I don’t know.
As a witness now to that cart sitting in the wrong place for such a long time, I feel partly responsible for it. I mean it says the name of the store it came from right on the handle, so I could return it either by walking it back or by putting in the trunk of the car. Why should I just leave it on the street? Would it be that much of a hassle and take that much of my time?
What else is community responsibility but acting on something that needs to be done when you see it? I often think I should carry a garbage bag when I walk to pick up the considerable litter that lines the street, especially after one of our windstorms. Sometimes I find an article of clothing or some accessory lying in the grass and think I should try to find the owner. I do at times pull the errant weed but I didn’t plant flowers in the sidewalk gaps yawning in anticipation last year.
I don’t seem to take action very often. The diffusion of responsibility is great in a neighborhood. It seems that we would more likely to take action when something is for intents and purposes “in our own backyard,” doesn’t it?
What thoughts do you have about doing what you see needs to be done? Why do we or don’t we act?
I’m all ears…
4 thoughts on “On My Walks”
I think I may have a shopping cart obsession – which is why this post particularly caught my eye. Everytime I go to the grocery store or a big box store, I will usually take one or two stray carts and put them in the cart corral. It infuriates me to see perfectly healthy individuals walking out to their cars,, put their purchases away then push the cart to some “safe” place between the cars rather than walking the 20 to 30 feet to put it away appropriately. We’ve all had the aggrevation of starting to pull in a parking spot only to find a wayward cart blocking us. So why create that for the next person pulling in behind you? Are we just lazy, oblivious to our actions or do we just not care care how we affect other people. I also pick up trash when I walk my dogs, and I’m looking for something to make the bag easier to carry rather than tying something to the leash. Maybe it’s better if I don’t make it too easy though, don’t want to spend all my time picking up trash instead of getting exercise.
Yes, Shari, these are interesting issues, aren’t they? Why do people feel that the carts will just find their way home, either back to the corrals or even all the way back to the store? I remember the last car we bought, back in 1992. We left the car dealership and went to K-Mart to buy floor mats. While we were in the store, a grocery cart bashed into the side and made a huge dent…IN OUR BRAND NEW CAR! I haven’t felt the same about letting carts go wild since.
It is true that one could spend a lot of time “picking up after others”–grocery carts, garbage. You hit the nail on the head with “perfectly healthy individuals.” Why should we do these things for those who can do it for themselves? I mean it would be different if they couldn’t…but just that they won’t? That feels not so good.
Ahhhh…I must think more on this. Thanks for your thoughts.
When I see a purloined grocery cart where it doesn’t belong, I call the store and tell them where I spotted it. The onus of retrieving it is on the store. I really don’t take the time (and have no interest) to try to figure out what the mental, physical or emotional state was of the person who made off with it and abandoned it.
Good tip, Claire. Perhaps I should call…