They drive me crazy. They always have. I’m back in NYC one day–one damn day!–and already I have to give some stranger the stink eye on Court Street with my two little boys in tow. Now lest you think I’m some brave noble type, forget it, I size up my litterers before trying to shame them. I’ve learned to be more judicious as a parent. Too many crazy bad asses walking the streets just looking for an excuse to whack someone upside the head.

But this guy was my size, the street was crowded, and he was so maddeningly blatant. He had crumpled bits of white paper in both hands that he threw to the ground like confetti. Just as he was passing me. How could I ignore that? Even with my little dudes flanking both my sides? So I shot the litterer a disgusted look and threw up my hands, turning around to watch him as he passed, so he knew that what he just did was not being ignored. He stopped for a second, shot me a hard look back, then kept walking. I admit to breathing a sigh of relief.

I then explained to my four year old why littering was bad, without trying to demonize the litterer. My oldest son, who is already smarter and worldlier than I was at 14, proceeded to tell me that the litterer obviously didn’t care about the earth or the animals he was killing with his pollution. He’s already given me the same lecture about driving our car. I’ve tried explaining why our car alone wouldn’t be responsible for killing any animals. Now I’m wondering if litterers use the same rationale to justify their own behavior.

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