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Friday, August 28, 2015

Picker Upper - updated!

Running has its many perks. You get to witness so much around you. Everyday things that you take for granted, you have more time to observe  as you catch your breath and wonder when your next water break is. 

One fine morning, I noticed a familiar sight in my route: an eldery, Caucasian male, in his gray US Department of Homeland Security shirt stopping to pick up other people’s trash and disposing of them in the trash bin. I’ve been seeing this for several days now. He does that on his regular walking route, which is along my run route.  I’m pretty sure he is as exasperated as others who see that the trash is just inches away from the bin. But unlike my usually self-righteous heart, which rants about it or sometimes even has the audacity to call the litterers on it, he just takes it upon himself set things right. No fanfare, no confrontations. Just humility. 

I discussed this over an extra rice lunch with my ultramarathoner cousin Pavel (who offered to run with me as I train for my first 42k - thank you!) after my first 10+k run in UP (such beautiful running weather in the mornings! I shall return!)

For a nation obsessed with basketball, you’d think we as a people would like to “shoot” our garbage in its proper place. But this is so not the case. Why do Pinoys litter anyway in the country when they  habitually keep their own bodies (twice a day showers!) and homes/cars clean? (I say they litter in the country because they don't do it when they're outside of it)

We've come to the following hypotheses:

 1). Pinoys do it because they assume someone would clean up after them (like in the movie theaters when the credits start rolling and the uniformed dudes start picking up popcorn and paper cups) 

2). This is learned behavior since you were a child when your yaya would clean up after you (as opposed to living abroad where something stays where it is unless you dispose of it) 

3). There are no consequences for littering (unless you live in Davao or Palawan). When one goes to the US, or any other foreign country, one doesn't want to run the risk of being deported or at the very least, ostracized, so s/he follows all the rules and tries to fit in as much as possible. (This is also probably the reason why Pinoy parents stop teaching their kids Tagalog or their other Filipino languages, but I digress) 

What are yours? I'm curious to know.

It’s a little out of my comfort zone but I think I’ll thank Mr. DHS the next time I see him, not just for picking up the trash, but for being a breath of fresh air and a picker upper of other people's days! 

Update: 1/5/2017: I got to talk to him! I thanked him for how he's made an impact on me! But he's also challenged me to pass it on. How should I? Answer the survey here!

How about you? What have you seen that blessed you in some way? Do you let those concerned know that they blessed you? Or how do you change your behavior as a result? 

Running update: 
161 days to go till my 42k! Woohoo!

Thank You God for helping me choose carefully what to eat, to sleep enough, and to exercise without injury! Most of all I thank You for surrounding me with friends who are encouragers! Thank You also for this ultra yummy watermelon, which I had when I got home :) 

(One watermelon, placed in the lowest setting of your blender, poured into mason jars)


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