A midday mess


An apple core and several cheese puffs lie discarded on the pavement outside the Student Center. Leftover food and lunchtime trash is a big issue at Monte Vista; it may make you feel like you’re down in the dumps, but now isn’t the time to put a lid on it. I’m here to be vocal about trash. (Courtesy of Michael Rhee)

Michael Rhee, Staff Writer

    Lunch. Never have 36 minutes been so highly anticipated. A time to relax, goof off, finish that homework assignment you meant to do last night, and, best of all, eat. However, in our haste to get to our 5th period class, we often ignore the scraps we leave behind….

    With all the trash cans around, you’d think that it would be easy to keep the school clean, right? Wrong. I eat lunch just outside the student center, where it’s (supposedly) less chaotic than the commons or the cafeteria. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an unfinished sandwich, a spilled drink, and maybe a paper bag or two to lie discarded on the concrete. My friends and I have been reminded more than once to pick up our trash by the lunch monitors.

    Sometimes it’s not our fault. Foods that are messy or crumbly are pretty regular, and it’s hard to control the mess when you’re eating out of a plastic bag. Worst case scenario, some lucky seagull gets a free lunch, right?

   That’s the kind of attitude that causes littering and food left behind. The attitude of, oh, it’s not that big of a deal or eh, it’s only food, or even it’s not MY problem.

    Because that just means it’s somebody else’s problem.

    Sir Isaac Newton’s third law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. We’ve been told this multiple times since, what, 4th grade? Everything has an effect. What they don’t tell us is that a lack of action has an effect, too.

    Every piece of trash you don’t pick up? Someone else has to. Every time you don’t hold the door for other people? Someone else has to. Every toilet you don’t flush, every gate you don’t close, every trash bin you don’t take out, every dish you don’t wash….someone else has to.

    It might not seem like that big of a deal, right? I mean, it’s just trash, right? Something unpleasant, something we don’t want to touch. Well, neither does the person you just made clean up your mess.

    Sir Isaac Newton’s second law: the acceleration of an object depends on the net force exerted on the object and on the object’s mass. Right now, trash at lunch is a problem. A big problem. A boulder of Sisyphean proportions (Sisyphus, guys. Look him up. Greek mythology, yo). And right now, nobody’s pushing. There’s no movement, no acceleration. Nobody’s doing anything to help clean up the problem. That heaping, stinking, metaphorical pile of trash is just going to keep building up, and up, and up.

    Sir Isaac Newton’s first law: an object at rest will stay at rest until acted upon by a greater force. If you, as an individual, don’t step up and take care of your own trash, nobody will. Your inaction is telling everyone else that it’s okay to do nothing, and it’s okay to let other people clean up their messes.

    You can be the starting force. You can break the inertia. You can be the person who cleans up after themselves like a functional human being.

    Just pick up the trash. We all know you can.