Life Lessons from the Physical World

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Earth is Your Mother

Here is a mystery: someone is driving down the road ahead of you, any sort of person, driving any kind of car, and out the window goes a cigarette butt, a napkin, a plastic wrapper. Can someone tell me why people do that? What's that about?

Maybe it's because they don't understand a very basic concept.

Once I was standing outside a chain drug store. There was a giant trash can beside the door. A young man walked out the door with some candy and he started taking off the wrapper. I watched him toss it to the ground. I simply said, "Why did you do that?" He shrugged. "The Earth is your Mother," I said, realizing I sounded like a big weirdo. I don't really know what got into me; I usually watch quietly and mutter to myself, or just think my thoughts about the trouble I see. I don't speak those thoughts. But that day I did, and the kid looked at me.

"What did you just say?"

"The Earth is your Mother," I repeated, convinced he was going to knock me upside the head, and my little dog too.

He reached around and pulled off his backpack, with a huge grin on his baby-boy face. I felt myself get flushed and worried.

"Could you say that again for the camera?" He yanked a handheld video camera out of the pack and removed the lens cap. "Huh?" was all I could muster. Miss Smarty Pants.

"Would you just repeat that, that thing you said about the mother or whatever?"

I had a bunch of concerns about that: Was he going to play me for his litterbug-buddies and laugh at my tree-hugging nonsense while they crushed cans of beer and tossed them into the street? Was I going to end up in some music video as the mean old neighborhood spinster wagging my finger at happy-go-lucky skateboarder-hipsters? Was he planning to photoshop me into some online porn?

That last seemed pretty unlikely and I ultimately decided I didn't care anyway. After all, this was a teaching moment. "Look," I said, "I'd be happy to say it again if you promise to put your wrapper into the trash can." He considered for a moment, like it was an expensive price to pay for a few seconds of video hilarity, but then he bent over, picked up the wrapper and tossed it into the trash can. No big deal.

Exactly. So I waited for him to aim the camera, stood firmly with my hands on my hips, and said it again. "The Earth is your Mother." I felt vaguely silly but it was kind of fun.

"Cool." Then he put the camera in the pack, swung the pack onto his back, and walked off.


Blogger Fuzzie said...

Great job!
I'd buy the video.

11:31 PM, July 28, 2005  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

yes, if anyone ever sees that video be sure and let me know how I look!

8:49 AM, July 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:57 PM, February 05, 2006  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

well, thanks!

7:39 AM, February 06, 2006  

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