Basic Human Decency

I woke up this morning to the sound of the garbage truck as it stopped in front of my house. Due to the recent purchase of another ridiculous vehicle (long story), I had two cars parked on the street, making the access to the can a bit of a maneuver for the garbage guy.

In addition, due to The Midget cleaning her room, my mother-in-law emptying several bins in her room, the cleaning out of our refrigerator and my ongoing battle to refinish every piece of furniture, the rolling cart was overflowing with crap.

The truck seemed to be taking an awful long time moving on, so I peeked out the window and saw something incredible. The lone garbage guy was on his hands and knees picking up the crap that managed to fall out of the can after the robot arm flipped it into the truck. He picked up tiny pieces of glitter-strewn paper, small grocery items that had developed language skills after spending months in our fridge and sanding disks that the wind was spinning about.

Once he got all that into the truck, he grabbed a hand broom and pan and swept up what was left. He then hopped back into the cab and pulled away from our driveway.

I don’t know why, but I was almost in tears. I felt horrible that this guy, who looked to be about my dad’s age, was doing this because I was a shithead. I wanted to go run down there and give him a beer or something, even though it was about 6:30 in the morning. I wanted to apologize and just thank him for not being a dick, which seems to be our resting pulse these days.

Stories full of blame seemed to be racing through my newsfeed, Facebook wall and other spots where I now find news.

There was the 2-year-old who got eaten by an alligator at Disney World, basically in front of the same hotel where our family stayed just two years ago.

There was the shooting at Pulse where 50 people died and more than another 50 were injured thanks to a heavily armed idiot with a death wish.

There were still reactions about the shooting of the gorilla, complete with the wonderfully racist meme comparing Michelle Obama to the gorilla. (And clicking unfriend now…)

There was even the wonderful story about Scott Walker explaining that the reason the people of the state think he sucks is because the media is telling them that he sucks.

It’s not so much the generally depressing nature of those stories, but rather the offshoots of those news events and the punditry that emerges after them. It comes from columnists, bloggers, news “commentators” and even the idiots who write in the comment section.

Why did the kid die in Florida? Shitty parents.

Why did the gorilla die? Shitty parents and armed zoo folks.

Why did the shooting happen at the club? Pick one: Islam, God’s wrath, self-loathing, guns, the inability to take a good selfie…

Why did Scott Walker’s approval rating end up in the toilet? The world caught on that he was possessed by the creature from “Dreamcatcher” Er.. Erm… The fucking media.

Everyone out there is so ready to blame someone for something because it makes them feel so superior to those people who are dealing with something horrible. It also feels so great to rub it in.

“Hey, asshole! Keep an eye on your fucking kid before he becomes gator jerky! EVERYONE KNOWS THAT!”

“Jesus, if we would just ARM EVERYONE, at least one of those gays woulda had a .357 or something to pop that asshole…”

“Who DOESN’T KNOW that a kid can climb down through a giant moat of some kind to commune with its evolutionary ancestor? GODDAMMIT, PARENT FOR FUCKSAKE!”

“SHOOT THE HOSTAGE! Er… Man, the media is just evil…”

With rare exception (kiddie porn, teachers fucking their students, a violent riot at Country USA) I realize that basically everything in life that fucks over someone else could fuck me over just as easily.

I could lose my job.

I could get into a car wreck.

My kid could get snatched at a Burger King

Some dickwad could open fire because he was having “a very trying day” and kill me or my family.

My car could burst into flames for no goddamned reason.

I could get cancer.

If someone gets fucked over by it, chances are, I could get fucked over too.

And so could any one of these self-righteous pricks who wants to take time out of their very superiorly busy schedule to “perfection-splain” to the rest of us how all of this could have been avoided if people had just done “the right thing.”

Everybody who isn’t involved always seems to have the answer and doesn’t mind telling us how we get what we deserve.

I can’t believe this all came to me while I watched this trash guy this morning.
I didn’t need a lecture or a mean note or even a pile of shit left for me to deal with because I should have known better. Instead, there was just this moment of decency where someone did something for someone else and didn’t pair it with shame or admonition.

If he wanted to teach me a lesson, that was actually the best way.

3 thoughts on “Basic Human Decency

  1. Love this story. “If you are going to be a garbage man, be the best damn garbage man you can be.”

  2. I think some of the stupidity on parade stems from people feeling in a precarious position. Not everyone, but a lot of people are on the edge in a lot of ways, and seeing the fickle finger of fate smack someone is indeed a reminder that “that coulda been me.” Some people can feel that way and react with basic human decency. Other people get that feeling (even if they can’t quite pinpoint it), and lash out because they don’t like being reminded that there is so much happening around them that is outside their control.

    Which means you’ll either love or hate this song:

  3. Guy across the street from me overfills his bin pretty hard, pretty frequently.

    It’s not a problem, tho, because once a month he’s out there next to the bin when the truck shows up at 6:15 AM, with an ice-cold six of [famous cola beverage], because he knows the driver prefers it to coffee. Because he asked. Because he got up at 5:45 once to be there to offer coffee, and to ask.

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