I go to McDonald’s every Tuesday morning with my mother after we go to Weight Watchers. We get our Modified McMuffins* and our apple slices and our coffee. While we eat, we discuss how we did that week and what we’re going to do to have a good loss at the scale the following week.
Mom orders, I fill our water cups and get napkins, salt & pepper, and straws while she waits at the counter. I did my thing then sat down and indulged in one of my favorite pastimes: people watching.
I watched one man get up and leave his tray, piled with trash, on the table. He walked out of the restaurant, got in his car, and drove away. Another man sat down with his cranky, pouting child and proceeded to eat his breakfast while his son refused to eat. After he finished, he got up and left his tray, piled with trash, on the table. He and his son walked out of the restaurant, got in their car, and drove away.
Always better at excusing the actions of others than they are themselves, I tried to excuse why they did that. Maybe they realized they were late and just didn’t have time? No. Both men strolled out at a casual pace. Neither seemed to have any physical limitation that would hinder carrying the tray to the trash can. Both were fully able to carry a full tray from the counter to their table. Had I missed a sign stating they should leave their tray? No. The trash can and tray return were NOT inconveniently located. They were right by the exit door.
What is it with people?? Were they never taught to pick up after themselves? Do they leave their trash behind everywhere they go? Do they always expect that someone else will clean up their messes? I just don’t get it.
The whole thing started a random, rambling thought process in my head. It’s okay. That’s normal for me. I do that. I’ll go off on a tangent that seems completely unrelated to the current topic and, if you wait around long enough, I get back to the original topic. Usually, I end up tying the whole ramble together in a cohesive fashion. Sometimes, I don’t. See, that’s where the fun comes in – you never know. Back to my story…
I started thinking about how when my kids were at home they’d just leave their stuff all around the house. Glasses on the coffee table, toys and clothes on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink but rarely did anything end up where it belonged. They just assumed I’d pick it up or clean it up and it would be where they expected the next time they needed a glass/their toy/their clothes/a dish. Even now, when my son is home from college, I’ll walk out into the office and find a half-empty water glass on the desk.
I’ve failed to teach him that personal responsibility thing. Or, maybe, I’m just a doormat. He’s very considerate of other people and of public spaces. I hope he is when I’m not with him. I hope he’s not Mr. McTrayLeaver when he’s out with his friends.
I think I’m going to have to come back to this topic. My ramble has taken me off track and I’m out of ramble-time for the day.
*Regular Egg McMuffins made with no butter and a slice of tomato added. We then squeeze a packet of hot salsa on the muffin. Not bad. Not great but not bad, either.