Dirty litter secrets

On a scale from zero to Hitler, how bad is littering?

I only ask because recently I've been getting increasingly annoyed at my fellow citizens who seem to have a fairly blasé attitude toward appropriate disposal of their unwanted crap.

Take for instance the guy I saw at the weekend, who, whilst having a conversation on his mobile in one hand, was throwing a broken umbrella on to the footpath in front of an empty section with the other. As we walked past him, I remarked to the Silver Fox rather more loudly than was strictly necessary "Oh look, babe, you're allowed to just throw rubbish wherever you want to now. That's nice, isn't it?"

Look, I'm not proud of how passive aggressive that was, but these things happen, okay?

The blatant umbrella ditcher then got in his car and drove away. We both gave him double barrel finger salutes as he drove off, because, apparently, despite being quite far into adulthood, we are both a bit immature like that.

I suppose my reaction was informed by a couple of things. The fact that a few days previously I'd walked past and noted a plastic supermarket bag full of disposal nappies sitting on the same section, for instance. And that the following day the overlong grass and weeds had been mown and the bag of nappy evil was gone. So someone had actually gone to the trouble of cleaning it up, only for umbrella-man to use it as a dumping ground almost immediately.

Also, there's the small matter of the house that I used to live in, which is something of a neighbourhood dumping ground these days with everything from microwave ovens to unwanted light fittings, broken pallets, and tree-pruning offcuts gracing the backyard. I mean, I wouldn't exactly call myself a stickler in terms of general tidiness, but at least I keep my mess confined to my own home (oh all right, and my work desk).

There's something about people who wilfully dump their unwanted rubbish wherever is most handy that really gets under my skin. In fact, though what I go with is getting snitty and passive aggressive in my mind I'm really having a lot of rage-fuelled violent fantasies not unlike the classic scene from Hi Fidelity where Rob and company smash Tim Robbins in the face with a phone before giving him a good kicking. Let's just say I had a few choice alternative uses for that abandoned umbrella in mind and we'll leave it at that.

At least part of the reason it bugs me is that Christchurch looks like such a mess in so many places (you know, like the before photo on an extreme renovation show) that I get really annoyed at people who go out of their way to make it look even worse. I mean, can a person not enjoy an evening stroll free from the sight of abandoned bags of putrid nappies occasionally?

So even though I know littering is way down on the list of evil, compared with genocide, rape, murder, or getting a Nickelback tattoo, that doesn't seem to stop me from feeling very self-righteous and vengeful in a "Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction" kind of way. I'm not sure if that's normal but at least I'm managing to contain my rage. Look, maybe I just take that "be a tidy Kiwi" thing we all got hammered into us in primary school a little to seriously. Who knows?

How do you feel about littering and is your annoyance disproportional to the seriousness of the "crime"?

» Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.