"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

captain planet

By some weird twist of environmental irony, Wednesdays are unusually windy around here, it seems. It's ironic because Wednesday is also Recycling Day, which means that all those papers, cardboard boxes, and empty bottles that had been gallantly rescued from the landfill-destined trash bins end up blowing all over the neighborhood. All those good intentions billowing down the street, getting tangled in branches, and landing in sewage drains.

While we were playing outside on this windy, windy Wednesday, Evan noticed some of the neighbor's recycling blowing around his yard. My little eco-defender started chasing after it. Every time he got close to it, it blew away. It was like an old Charlie Chaplin comedy (I'm guessing; I've never actually seen any Charlie Chaplin...shows?...film reels?....whatever)....but you know what I'm talking about...the guy bends down to pick up his hat and accidentally kicks it away from his hand. So he steps forward to get it and kicks it again. That's what this looked like. It was really a funny little thing to watch, and I thought it was a game appreciated by all.

Until Evan had chased this piece of paper a lawn and a half away from me. He turned around to look back at me and I could just barely make out some tears streaming down his face. I started running towards him and he started ambling slowly back to me, slumped shoulders, sobbing, and muttering something I couldn't yet hear.

"Baby, what? What's the matter?"
[sob] "I was jus' trying to get that trash."
"I know you were, sweetie. And that wind kept blowing it away."
[sniff] "I di'n't WANT that wind to blow that trash!"
"I know hon, but I can't tell the wind to stop blowing the trash away."
[SNIFF] "But I jus' want that recycling man to come pick up this trash Right Now."
"I do, too, Ev, but I can't tell the recycling man to come right now. He's busy picking up other peoples' recycling."
"Yes you CAN tell him to come right now."
"I can't. I'm not the boss of him."
[stunned silence]
[I guess he thought I was the boss of everyone?]
"You can go pick up the trash, then?"
"Sure, babe. I'll go pick up the trash."

And I'm sure any neighbor who happened to glance out their window right then had a good ol' laugh at the crazy lady chasing the trash down the street while her three-year old watched, sobbing, from the neighbor's lawn.

Lesson Learned:
I must be doing something right in instilling Respect The Planet Values if litter inspires such strong feelings in my little boy. Either that or he was just really overtired.

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