Monday, March 04, 2019

Death to smokers, sort of

Morrisburg, ON
February 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: A windswept parking lot along the 401 in Eastern Ontario. We've been through this particular rest stop too many times to count of late, and I'm not particularly pleased to be adding to our tally.

As we walk back to the car, I notice this rather disgusting mess and decide it needs to be shot. I'm pretty sure I'm mumbling something unkind under my breath about the unseen travellers who were too lazy or self-centred or both to take 15 extra seconds to do the right thing. I'm pretty sure said strangers have long forgotten about the scene they left behind in this place far from anyone's home.

When I return to our vehicle, my wife is cracking a wide smile - her first in a while - as she describes how many strangers looked at me funny as I crouched over the dirty, frozen pavement to get the shot.

And in an instant, she lifts my mood as I realize I'm never going to change the basic fact that people are pigs. Like it or not, we're surrounded by them, and my sanctimonious rantings notwithstanding, we always will be. I also realize I must now apologize to the pig community, because even pigs behave better than this.

At that moment, it dawns on me that the answer lies in finding the smile, the laugh, the kindness, despite the cigarette butts at our feet, or the other messy crap life decides to throw in our path. Our choice. No one else's. Somehow, we learn these lessons in the most unexpected places, in the most unexpected ways.

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