>I decided tonight that I’m not going to care about all the shit people do around here that pisses me off, that which involves reckless disregard for their neck of the woods, anyway. I’m leaving here, really shouldn’t have been here in the first place, and have no “don’t tread on me” style of pride in Wilmington/Wrightsville beach/Southport/etc. The place I’ve worked at since starting at UNCW employs many local high school students who are typically eager to learn new things and ideas … at one point, I thought I had hit a gold mine in terms of getting the next generation to think outside the box, including what their Bible-clutching mommies and daddies have taught them. However, after repeated instances of being ignored, laughed at, and regarded as one of those Al Gore-worshipping environmentalist their parents warned them about, I’ve realized it’s time to look out for myself and move on. They can destroy this tiny section of Southeastern North Carolina as far as I’m concerned anymore. At least I’ll know I tried really hard.
What I found most often was that they all know what’s right and wrong for the planet we live, preach, and drive on. They realize cars are bad for the air, littering is terrible, and wasting food is not a very nice thing to do for anyone. The problem is that they only care about these issues until doing something about them starts to mean making sacrifices. How do you not add to the overflowing stock of carbon dioxide collecting beneath the ozone? You don’t drive. Should you carry an empty pop bottle with you until you get to a garbage can and, Hell, maybe even pick up some of the trash others have decided to drop along the way? Absolutely. Is recycling easy to do without taking the initiative to do it yourself? No, but it does so much good. Should you throw excess food away instead of saving it for another time? Nope.
But these things require too much on their part. Not driving means finding alternate sources of transportation like bicycling, carpooling, or – God forbid – utilizing public transportation. This would go against the iconic status fancy automobiles have in this country and especially around here, since if you drive a Mercedes or Lexus, everyone knows you’re a cut above the rest. Hell, most of them drive these cars just for the sake of driving and shouting to the standstill world, “Hey, look at me … I’m SOMEBODY!” I’ve found this is especially true for the younger generations, which is further evidence of an overly-materialistic chunk of society being present ’round these parts. Public transportation is clearly out of the question since that’s only for poor people who wish they had cars and black people (this is their sentiment, not mine). And biking? You want to talk about a good way to look like you’ve got multiple D.U.I.’s and/or mental issues and/or a problem having a place to live, that’s just it. No one rides bikes around here except for retards, according to Wilmington’s future leaders.
Recycling’s a non-no for most of the people in this state. Not only is this true for 14-to-19-year-olds, but for established adults as well. Every day I make several trips outside the restaurant I work at to pick cups, napkins, bags, plastic spoons, foil ketchup packets, fetuses, plastic bags and so forth up off the ground, many of which could easily make the 500-yard trip into the ocean via a couple gusts on a windy day. It is apparently too much to ask people around here to even throw shit in the garbage, let alone set out a few extra bins at their house to start recycling. Again, God forbid anyone should have to go out of their way to take care of the world we live in so that future generations can enjoy it.
A prime example of the wasting food issue happened at work just tonight with a 16-year-old girl. We’ve got this hot fudge dispenser which only pumps out about 3/4 of a can of hot fudge before it’s “empty.” After that, we have to open a new can, turn up the heat and let it get good and warm before the pump can work it out. In the meantime, what we do is take the last quarter of the old can (which is still warm) out and scoop the fudge onto sundaes with a plastic spoon. Well, I was trying to explain this to the girl and told her the pump couldn’t actually pump all of the fudge from the old can out when she retorted that such a predicament was wasteful. I then told her how we manually spooned the remainder onto sundaes to combat this. She then proceeded to complain that the fudge got all over her hand that way and didn’t like it. Essentially, she acknowledged that to throw 1/4 of a can of hot fudge away was a waste, but wasn’t necessarily fond of doing what it would take to prevent it. It was everything that is wrong with they way people think around here in motion: yes, we do some shitty things in terms of acting like spoiled little brats, but there’s no way in Hell anyone’s going to stop doing them, for that would just be too much work.
I don’t know if they or their parents (who passed such a splendid way of thinking right on down the line) are thinking “we’re Americans and we don’t have to do shit like this” or what. I believe many do, since we’ve had it so good for so long in this country that we can’t even recall a time when it was shitty. Assuming this is the case, I’d like to ask them what specifically they did to make this so and not what their forefathers accomplished. Me included, no one could respond with anything. I think this is a cop-out, personally. Religion plays into the same hand as a ridiculous excuse, as it typically does with a lot of things, as they believe this world is shit anyway and as long as they’re saved®, they’re going to end up in a better place. To that I would respond that when I was in the mountains of western North Carolina last week, I reached some pretty high points using just my own strength and each time, I would get to the top, look down, and think that this Earth is beautiful. It was God’s gift to us right from the start, not some test site to see who’s worthy of a greater reward … these aren’t our dumping grounds, it is a gift from God himself.
At the risk of sounding redundant, though, these people don’t want to do anything to truly respect them. Yeah, they’ll visit the beach and Chimney Rock because neither requires physical effort (they’ve equipped privately-owned Chimney Rock with an elevator so all the fat people can get up there and America’s beaches have become accessible to even the most out-of-shape and intoxicated second-year college freshmen) and say they respect the land, but that’s not what they’re doing at all. They have ulterior motives in endeavors such as these, and they’re always self-promoting in some way or another.
Kids with fancy cars keep them clean. If they go to Port City Chop House and can’t finish their filet minion, you better believe they’re taking the leftovers home. The theater rooms of their parents’ homes in Landfall aren’t cluttered with discarded trash. Why are these things true? Because it’s all manmade shit. The cars cost a lot of money, filet minion’s expensive and Daddy just paid a couple Mexicans to clean the living room at their house. These are the toys they love, not one of the greatest gifts God’s ever given mankind, the Earth. Until people around here start appreciating its beauty, they’re never going to take measures to start caring for it. I need to realize that my state of mind is not worth sacrificing over this. It’s only a small portion of a small state that I don’t care too much for … if they want to exploit it, I should let ‘em do it. It’s not my home anyway.