Last week, Wednesday, I was surprised when I looked out my office window to see my neighbor and his buddies fishing in the lake. “It is 10am. They should be working. Oh, maybe they had the day off and there really must be some fish in that lake. ” My thoughts were swirling that day. They fished for about two hours, drank beers ate some food and listened to music (while I worked – writing curriculum). I went on with my work and forgot all about the fishing escapade.
Two days later I looked out my office window and saw what appeared to be a coke can floating near the shore of the lake where they were fishing. I saw another red object a few feet away. “oh great!” I exclaimed, “those fisherman are litter bugs! What a mess they left in the lake. Those poor ducks and herons and fish”. But, I didn’t do anything at all. The mowing crew for the Homeowners Association will pick it up – I assumed. I went on with my work and forgot all about the trash incident.
The next week came and I notice that the mowing crew did not pick up the “coke can” and other trash in the lake. I thought, “I should go and get it myself. This is really bothering me.” But, I am seriously afraid of fire ants and they are all over our back yard and the lake property. I watch out my office window and see people mowing their lawns or walking and doing the fire ant dance. In case you live in the north, let me describe this dance for you. First, you bring your knees up and stomp your feet. You stomp and stomp. Then you reach down and take off your flip flops and start beating your legs with them while using your arms to swat and swish your feet and legs. Fire ants are awful if they bite you, it will sting like a bee then it will itch (like you have never felt an itch) for days. Of course, you will scratch and leave a huge scar. On my list of worst things in the world – fire ants rank right up there.
After a week and a day I decided I would brave the dangers and go get the trash myself. I put on my rain boots (ants) and grabbed the skimmer net from the pool. Gingerly, I walked to the lake shore avoiding ant mounds and anything that did not look like grass. Yes, it was its own special dance. Then I saw it, scooped it up. Not a coke can but a red christmas ornament bulb. Then I saw the kit kat wrapper along with a green plastic bag that blended in to the grass. I scooped it all up and did the tip toe dance back to my house.
I don’t think the fishermen left that trash. But, then again I don’t know much about fishing. Maybe red Christmas ornaments are the newest bait in South Florida? I asked myself, why didn’t I do this sooner? Did my OCD or social responsibility take over my fear of fire ants? I often wonder why we as human do or do not do certain things when we know them to be the right thing to do. Do our fears stop us? Are we just lazy? Knowing more about why we behave certain ways (or not) is key to how to get along with others in life. I am pretty sure that is why I am so interested in self-assessments and learning more about myself and others.