Fast becoming a real bugbear of mine is the impact that visitors to Fremantle can have on the amenity of residents just out of apathy and lack of respect.
It has been something I’ve been reflecting on because of the way locals have sought to change our built environment in response, whereas I don’t want the environment to change, just the behaviour of those who pass through it.
Litter is a big example. This evening I was sat out the front when a Hilux rolled up at the corner of Wray Avenue and Brennan Street to drop off a bloke and a pile of trash.
Hungry Jacks, booze and a drunk mate, thanks a bunch!
As the Hilux drove away I called out to the drunk mate.
Me: Excuse me, is that yours?
Him: Nah, it’s his.
Me: Well, are you going to pick it up then?
Him: No, it’s not mine.
Me: But it’s your mate’s…
Him: Nah, he’s not my mate. He’s a tosser.
Me: Obviously. But you’re going to walk away from it and leave me to pick it up. That’s going to make you a tosser.
Him: [strangely perplexed] Why are you going to pick it up?
Me: Ummm, because I have a bit of pride in my street and environment and I don’t want your shit all over the place.
Him: Yeah, but it’s his.
Me: We’ve established that pal, but you’re standing right next to it and you could take some responsibility for it and put it in the bin.
Him: There’s no bins but.
Me: There’s one across the road. Or the way you’re headed, there’s bins in people’s front yards.
Him: It’s not bin day.
Me: Sure, but their bins are still there. Where do you think they keep them on this street?
Him: [shaking his head] Nah mate, have a good night, eh!
And he walked off drunkenly to his car and drove away.
I put all the litter in the bin in the end, not for the first time and not for the last time either I bet.
I don’t want to seem like a crotchety old man but it really does my head in that people can be so mindless, particularly when they have their consciousness drawn to their behaviour by another human being. Not that it’s at all acceptable, but it’s at least understandable that people would transgress expectations of social behaviour when there is nobody around to call them to account. But in the face of someone catching them out using the public street as a dumping ground I can’t believe people would refuse to fulfil their social contract.
I could handle it – even applaud it – if such transgressions were for something worthwhile or as a result of something a person truly believed but when the motivation for casting off all responsibility for trashing the environment around us and disrespecting people’s place is nothing but laziness and self-centredness I really get the irrits.