It doesnt make me better

It doesn't make me better (because trust me, I'm not) That I reuse these flimsy plastic bags at your supermarkets. Please don’t be personally offended either when I refuse your bagging services and choose my bag over yours. It's nothing personal. It doesn’t make me better than you that it pains me to see those bags Flying around the streets or flagging themselves from tree limbs as if representing the fully masted national pride of Panama. It doesn’t make me better at all actually. I am aware that my sarcastic undertones can be understood as condescending, But you are not making it easy for me or my patience to watch you throw your garbage At my feet. I assure you that it doesn’t make me better that it pains me to see trash billowing from automobile windows and public transit as they roll down the city streets. It just makes me disappointed. It doesn’t make me better than you that I pick up your trash. From your beaches, and from your mountain tops, I pick up your trash. but it doesn’t ever make me better. It just bothers me is all because you think that they are your beaches. You think that they are your mountain tops. Yet if this is indeed your Panama, governed by its political perimeters and I just another missionary for the Great White Hype, I shall remain silent and asimilate. Allow me to assume for a second that if your city and your beaches and your rivers are anything like your living room, I’d better respect your wishes and not feel the need to re-arrange things.  I know that I like a certain disorder to my personal space. I should best assume, as a visitor, that you are deliberately throwing that styrofoam cup down on that specific street corner for decorative purposes.  And no, it doesn’t make me better that I detest your taste in style. I just think that your feng shui is clogging my chi.

However, considering this is not your living room but rather our living room, I feel the need pick up after you. It doesn’t make a mother better than her child when she has to pick up after them. It just makes her responsible. At a certain point, the child grows up and realizes that it’s not anyone else’s job to pick up his messes. At a certain point he begins to take responsibility for himself. It does not make me better that I prefer a clean earth to live in nor that I consider it our home. I have had a lot of uncomfortable roommate talks about the cascading dirty dishes from the sink, or the filth on the floor, or the stench in the bathroom. And I'd prefer to not have another one of those and just assume that we can all be adults and pick up after ourselves. People think that the tendency to litter is correlated to a certain level of education. It doesn’t make me better that I think it to be common sense. just confused. It just seems strange to me that your homes are clean, well-kept, and orderly while your cities and national parks and communal public areas are trashed. Literally. It just seems…strange. Maybe thats because I am the stranger here. So I will refrain from judging the cultural tendencies that seem so accepted and tolerated. And I am not better for wanting to change these tendencies. I would just appreciate a clean communal space, a place where the refuse of human disregard is absent, where beauty is appreciated and preserved. Just a little appreciation is all for our shared home.

But who am I to tell you to stop spewing garbage from the orifices of your culture?  Just another eco-tripping white boy with education and privilege in his bank account, with money to travel and opinions on how to better the world.  It doesn’t make me better than you that I don’t worry about my next meal.  My priviledge makes me worry about these things that seem all too trivial in comparison to your daily struggles.

And frankly, I think that makes me worse.

One thought on “It doesnt make me better

  • April 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Very well written. And so true!

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