I've Lost My Taste For Gum

Dear readers:
I'm cheating a little bit today. I'm labeling this blog under Sadly Seen In Stores, but technically...well...this was something I actually saw in the parking lot at Target.  Outside the store, not in the store. Does that count? Oh, you'll humor me, I hope!

And this is an aside:  Have you noticed that now that Thanksgiving is over, people in public look stressed? They grip their steering wheels, wide-eyed, panicked.  How many shopping days 'til Christmas? And God bless 'em, Advent hasn't even started yet! It starts THIS SUNDAY!  Some of the clerks are stressed, shoppers are stressed, drivers are stressed.

Which finally brings me to the Target parking lot. As I was driving away after my visit, I was following a young couple who was headed toward the store, presumably to do a little Christmas shopping. The next thing I knew, the woman turned her head and, without warning, spit out a huge wad of chewing gum in front of my van. I saw the white glob fly and I thought to myself, "That was so incredibly nasty; did she really just do that?" And the white glob had lift; it sailed onto the pavement: her own personal trash can. It was very unladylike, and very disgusting.

I thought of all of the people who would walk onto that piece of gum that she so brazenly spit out, not caring who stepped on it and would drag it onto their car mats and into their homes, only to have to get an ice cube to remove her waste later in the day. I thought of my new boots. Oh, if I had stepped onto her nasty gum with my new boots, there would be trouble! Big trouble!

It was time for the hairy eyeball. I had to do it. At that moment, her very muscular boyfriend happened to turn in my direction. I exhibited the hairy eyeball from the safety of my vehicle, windows up.  This is, of course, the only way I would consider teaching him a lesson, since he was quite a large fellow. And even though he didn't even notice or care about my reaction, I hightailed it out of there, just in case he was stronger than my van, which he just might have been.

And this, after having visited Jesus in the tabernacle at church an hour earlier! What is to be done with me? I am beyond help. Oh St. Therese, I try to be like you, to follow your Little Way, but it's so DIFFICULT!

Now, just because I am no longer a gum chewer does not mean that I don't have sympathy for those of you who do indulge and are in need of a trashcan. I sure wish I could indulge, but alas, the dental work I have in my mouth really doesn't allow for much gum chewing. I suppose I could if I wanted to, but I am really not a good gum chewer anyway. My brother has told me since childhood that I really don't chew gum very well. I snap, I crack, I make all kinds of chomping noises. Other people have told me that I seem to really enjoy my gum. After that, I became pretty self conscious about how I chewed gum. Suddenly it just wasn't fun anymore. And then there is the problem of getting rid of the gum once all of the flavor is gone. Of course, my method of choice has always been the Kleenex/trashcan combo. The woman in the parking lot was steps away from the red Target trashcan, however, she decided that twenty more seconds of chewing that  tasteless gum just could not be borne. The gum had to exit—anywhere—NOW. After witnessing that incident, I have to say I've lost my taste for gum. It was that gross to watch.

This is how some people in our society today view the world around them. Their surroundings are their own personal garbage can. I went to pump gas afterward and couldn't help but notice, as my credit card grew deeper and deeper into the red with each passing gallon, the trash along the cement by my feet. There were wads of dried-up gum, paper, and even a floss pick. Who flosses their teeth while pumping gas? All of the trash was INCHES away from a very large garbage bin.

Are we that lazy that we can't move one inch toward a garbage receptacle? I started to think about the grungy things I'd seen lying around lately: used, balled-up Kleenexes in my pew at church, fast-food cups and wrappers along the road, and other debris.

It's a problem in our society, that's for sure. It's disgusting, inconsiderate, and careless.

And pretty sad, too.

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