What’s worse than smoking a cigarette?
Throwing that cigarette, after it’s been smoked, to the ground, first stepping on it so as to extinguish the possibility of it creating a real fire, and then leaving it where it’s been thrown, in someone else’s private space.
The penalty for such a smoker? Either one year less or one year more of life: one year less if the smoker loves life and one year more if the smoker craves death.
Walking home from the polling place at 755 27th Avenue near Fulton, I give myself a TED TALK and then sign a document permitting my TED TALK to be released to the public—
“Rich people have always interested me but only to the point where I become uninterested and know I can never be like them, never measure up; and then one day I decided I really didnt want to measure up to anyone other than myself, that I’m far better off going it alone, that aloneness is the only way I can negotiate the world...”
(I’ve asked the TED TALK people to douse the stage lights in such a way that only my body can be seen, in homage Billiie Whitelaw in Beckett’s ‘Not I’).
My TED TALK concludes with the impossibility of it going viral. And so I continue shuffling toward home, imagining, as I shuffle along, the sort of person who throws a cigarette on the sidewalk or into the street, as well as the people, the other people, who’ve dropped their paper napkins, plastic spoons, forks, and knives, orange juice cartons, pages of the daily newspaper, straws, water bottles, clothing, cans of Coke, ATM receipts, business cards....
I’d expected to be filled with civic pride; instead it’s a sad little walk I take from the polling place home; that in this beautiful city there seems to be at least one piece of trash for every citizen, and that so many of us walk by the trash as if it isn’t there.