News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

September 21, 2008

The Off Season: ‘There will come soft rains…’

One sticky day this past summer, I left my wife, by her request, in our car while I ran into a hardware store to pick up a few things.

We had been in town for much of the day, and she was tired and didn’t feel like traipsing through aisle after aisle of garden hoses, spray paint

and plastic fittings while I jabbered

on about adjustable wrenches

and sandpaper.

When I slid back behind the wheel, my slamming door jarred her awake from an impromptu nap. At almost the same moment, we noticed a young woman in the car next to ours. She appeared to us to be healthy, reasonably prosperous, and about 25, and she was finishing off what was left of a bag of fast food.

We’re not in the habit of staring at people while they eat — after all, my table manners could probably use a little brush-up, I’m sure — but it wasn’t what this lady was doing with her food that bothered us; it was what she did with her trash.

Looking straight at us with a “What are you going to do about it?” glare, she promptly shoved the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth, wadded her wrappers and sack together, and along with what appeared to be a plastic cup the size of an industrial drum, tossed the whole mess out of her driver’s side window onto the steaming parking lot.

She smiled as she slammed the car into gear and peeled off in a cloud of exhaust, apparently pleased that she’d shown a couple of old snoops what attitude was all about. I imagine that in her mind, we must still be sitting there in our car, our mouths hanging open, hopeful that a “constable” would drive past so we could describe her car for an APB.

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