The fate of a plastic plate — that was my practical and philosophical question.
I had a vision for it, you can be sure. It was going to end up in a recycle bin. Of that I was certain. I would put it there by my own hand.
However, it wasn’t as simple a proposition as that. Outdoors, near the water, the wind was kicking up, as wind near the water will do. The plate and I were there too. A warm October day and large buildings nearby meant it was gusting. Sudden bursts emerged without warning.
Oh, did I mention the sandwich? The heavy brick-like sandwich? The tasteless pointless sandwich that nevertheless aided me by holding the plate down? The bread was cardboard. The meat was colorless and indecipherable. Was it turkey? Was it ham? It was simply impossible to tell. But the help was appreciated.
The seagulls down by the waterfront are a savvy group. They play innocent. I’m just enjoying the sunshine like you buddy, that’s what the little gray and white-winged guy next to me is saying. But they are thinking to themselves, there is food nearby, and if I can just wait long enough, it may come to me. Still, they get only so close. They know when they are not wanted.
The outdoor tables find these gusts no trouble at all. They are built for it.
Just then, it happened. A mighty breeze blew up strong. My hand could not still the tiller and the sandwich was simply no match. The whole thing, plastic plate with its leaden cargo, simply lifted off the table and flopped upside down on the ground. The plate then reared up again, carried further by another gust. If I couldn’t put a hand on it, or step on it, it would end up in the water.
In the water?
Litter! I would litter in Boston Harbor.
I walked slowly toward that black disk peacefully resting on the wooden boardwalk. Only two more steps and I'd have it.
But then again — Gust! Blow!
It bobbed on the surface, a visual blemish against me and against the damn wind.
I walked away in disgust. Somehow, it served them right!