Yesterday, my husband noticed a beer can in the backyard. This is significant for several reasons, the most obvious being that we don’t drink beer and we very rarely through garbage of any kind in our own backyard.
“Must have been the neighbors,” we decided.
This is where things get interesting. Because that single beer can resting quietly in the pile of leaves mulching the flower bed became the object of much curiosity and outrage.
The moralistic approach: What kind of person drinks beer on a Tuesday night and then throws the can in their neighbors’ backyard?
The I-have-my-rights approach: This is MY backyard. How dare he throw his trash on my property.
The fearful approach: What is our neighborhood becoming? Beer cans in the backyard?
The concerned parent approach: What kind of message does this send the kids?
I stewed over that beer can in the backyard for close to 24 hours. I passed it on the way to the garage for a meeting. I passed it again on the way back in the house after the meeting. I glanced at it each time I opened the door to let Tilly out. This morning, as the sun rose and the backyard sprang to life with daylight, the beer can was still there.
Later, when I realized I hadn’t set out the garbage cans for our weekly pickup, I walked to the garage again. This time, I picked the beer can up and tossed it into the bin before dragging it to the street. Because sometimes, the best thing you can do with a beer can in the backyard is just throw it away.
The pragmatic approach: There’s a beer can in the back yard. I need to pick it up and put it in the garbage.
The environmentalist approach: Why didn’t I think to recycle?