I would say one of my greatest pet peeves I’ve had nearly all my life is whenever I see something that has been created or purchased and after a short period of time, becomes shabby looking due to the lack of general upkeep. There are some districts here in Mason City that I attempt to not even look either way when driving through because of the rickety homes with their porches and yards littered with junk and garbage.
I do become vocal at times out of sheer frustration. Just this morning while walking a client to her car, I discovered a beer can on the sidewalk that likely a number of people simply walked past. I picked it up and threw it in the city trash can about five feet away. I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve picked up litter while walking down Commercial Alley. I’m beginning to think the general public have either become blind or apathetic towards their surroundings. I also believe this is yet another example of people moving away from the feeling of being a part of a community.
I had a Sociology instructor tell me once that if people don’t consider themselves part of a given community, they will then conduct themselves as though they are on an extended vacation—they are sightseers of sorts. Maybe that’s why in some seasonal resort cities, the natives leave during the time vacationers are there. One of my all time disgusting sights was once when I was walking down a street in the downtown and happened to notice a car coming towards me very slowly. The driver had her door partly open and was shoveling the remnants of likely many fast food meals out onto the street. When she reached the corner, she shut her door and drove off. I was completely disgusted by the sight.
Every time I see someone littering, I simply think, “Well, there goes another one giving Mother Nature the finger.” I’m glad that the city is becoming more strict with people having junk and garbage around their homes. Too many times I happen to see certain garage doors open and mounds of garbage bags piled inside. This past year I believe was the turning point of getting Mason City back on the right track. The nuisance ordinance that went into effect has been put to the test and I hope it continues to cause people to realize that we are not going to stand by and allow people in our community to disgrace our city by not taking care of their surroundings. Perhaps more sooner than later, they will have the mindsets of maintenance.