“Three nights ago, I yelled at a man throwing a beer bottle in our yard. He came back, picked it up, and then threw it on the other side of the street. Yesterday I spotted a lone teenager picking it up, checking to see if anybody was watching, and then smashing it in the intersection and waiting for cars to run over it. I know of no good solution other than a hard push for more public trash cans. Ideas?”
Dear No Good Solution,
This is indeed a very tough situation. If a guy threw a beer bottle in my yard I’d have to “size” up the guy for my response. I know this isn’t going to be a happy answer but nine times out of ten I’d probably just pick up the bottle myself and throw it out. I know the reaction you had though. It certainly would piss me off. But you just have to measure what will you get out of yelling at the guy vs. very deliberately walking outside and picking up the bottle. Or you could say as you are picking up the bottle “you know I really don’t appreciate that” or something like that. I know this may sound a bit like punking out but I really don’t think it is. It’s like not getting into a bar fight when you are totally in the right and “justified”. You know if someone insults you, you can have some words, you can fight or you can ignore it. Again, nine times out of ten it is better to be the more mature person and do the bigger thing, which is not fighting or in this case just picking up the bottle. Of course, if the guy seems reasonable, then you can talk to him. But if he is a drunk or a thug, yelling at him is going to do nobody any good. And if you just pick up the bottle, this of course would solve the second problem.
As for the teenager who busted the bottle. Well, he’s a teenager. Unfortunately that is sometimes what teenagers do. I know I was no angel as a teenager, and as embarrassed as I am to admit it, some of my very good friends busted a few bottles of their own back in the day. Of course if you know the teenager you could try talking to him. But all in all I think the solution in the future is to just pick up the bottle and throw it out yourself. It’s kind of a disappointing answer but I think it’s probably best.
Do you guys agree or disagree?