Monday, October 18, 2010

The Student Becomes The Master

I cracked. I broke down. I had a moment of weakness. Call it an out-of-body experience. Call it cold feet. Call it whatever you want. The fact is, I'm ashamed of myself ---- I littered.

Here was the situation: Huyen and I were on the street, outside of the most famous ice cream shop in Hanoi. The street was packed with people eating ice cream on a stick. I had just finished my bar and began to look around for a garbage. I didn't see one. But I did see in the corner of my eye, dozens of ice cream sticks at my feet. The ground was covered with them. All of a sudden I found myself throwing my stick on the ground. I watched the stick fall in seemingly slow motion to join its' comrades on the pavement. After the stick settled by my feet I looked up to see Huyen staring at me with a look of utter disbelief. She then said to me, "I can't believe you just did that?" I think I then said, "I don't know why I did that." Huyen then shook her head at me and said, "I'm really disappointed in you." Yeah, those words hurt. They hurt a lot. But as disappointed as she was in me, I was feeling even more disappointment in myself. I then looked at Huyen and said, "I'm gonna pick it up." I then reached down and picked up my ice cream stick and placed it in the plastic bag the ice cream had come in.

It's amazing to me, Huyen has truly become the master of anti-littering. When I first met her, she was prone to throwing garbage on the ground like the majority of her fellow countrymen. However, after a lecture or two from her Sierra Club boyfriend (that's me), Huyen never threw garbage on the ground again.

I'd like to publicly thank Huyen for correcting my moment of weakness/stupidity. I'd now like to declare that I'll never litter again.