Gandhi Would've Returned His Shopping Cart

What?  You know he would have.

Picture it:  You pull into the parking lot of the grocery store and you’re looking for a parking space and…THERE’S ONE!  So, you flip on your turn signal and go to pull in.  You start to park and…FUCK.  There’s a stray fucking shopping cart sitting right in the middle of it.  And what’s worse; the goddamn cart return is just a few feet away.  HOW LAZY CAN PEOPLE BE?!!

Side Note:  If you don’t return your shopping cart, you’re the worst kind of garbage human and I don’t think we could be friends.  Please do better.

So, you find a new parking space and you park your car and you seethe and bitch and moan the whole walk to the entrance because you’re still salty about missing the sweet sweet parking space because of the inconsiderate cart abandoner.  Been there.

Something clicked for me one day while I was grocery shopping and some garbage human dropped some items on the floor.  Rather than pick them up and return them where they belonged, this guy just kicked the items under the shelf.  WHAT A DICK.


As I began to walk past the sad little floor items, it dawned on me:  I could pick that shit up and put it back.  Rather than giving this guy the stink eye and being aggravated and heading home and bitching about the asshole at the store who couldn’t bother to pick up his shit and going on and on about how some people are just the goddamn worst, I could just solve the problem myself.  I could be Gandhi.  I could return those stray little pieces of produce to their proper place and be like freaking Gandhi.  I picked that shit up off the floor, and just like that, I became the change I wanted to see in the world.

That is, until I got outside and some dick bucket had left their cart in the parking lot and it rammed into the back of my car…which was parked two spaces away from the cart return.

Shopping cart abandoners, serious question for ya:  What the actual fuck is your deal?  Why can’t you just put your cart back?!  Did you have an emergency come up?  Do you have some sort of ailment that prevents you from maneuvering the cart between the return rails?  Please tell me.  I just want to understand you heathens.

As I moved the cart away from my car, I looked up to see stray little carts all over the place. WHAT KIND OF GODLESS DYSTOPIA WAS THIS?!

No.  I wasn’t gonna bitch.  I had just picked up floor produce and become the change a few minutes ago.  I was freaking Gandhi right in the middle of Walmart Neighborhood Market.  I would Gandhi the shit out of this parking lot.

I just used Gandhi as a verb.  It’s fine.

I walked up and down the row of cars, snagging stray carts and returning them to the cart returns (notice that I said returns, as in plural, as in more than one, as in many, as in there’s literally a fucking cart return like every five parking spaces).  As I did this, I saw a woman about to abandon her cart.  She actually started walking away from it.  I walked towards her rogue cart with my sweet Gandhi-inspired cart conga line in tow, and as I did, she made eye contact with me, and went back and returned her cart to where it belonged.

Gandhi would’ve been so proud.

The truth is, there’s a reason that people don’t shut up about Gandhi.  Props to this guy, because he was really onto something.  How many times do we go about our day, bitching, pissing, and moaning about this and that, and never doing anything about it.  If something’s bothering you and you have a means to improve that situation at all, whether it be through action or attitude, then it’s your goddamn duty to get off your ass (or mental ass, whatever) and do something about it.  You don’t have to solve all the problems, but you do have to make sure that you’re not a part of them.

This year, I made it my New Year’s Resolution to talk less and listen more (that and you know, kicking that whole drinking thing).  I try to be self aware, but truth be told, I’m guilty of monopolizing a conversation here and there.  And I can also make anything about me.  Seriously.  ANYTHING.  Just ask my mom. Or my husband.  Or my our marriage therapist.

I don’t love this about myself.  It’s not a pretty color on me.  But it’s also a quality that I really fucking despise in others.  In fact, if I’m going through a hard time, and I’m around someone who can’t seem to do anything but talk about themselves and their shit without so much as a, “How are you?”  I will lose my shit and cold shoulder them into oblivion.

I know.  Not cool.  Not very Gandhi at all.

It’s not our job to change other people or make them act the way we want them to; it’s our job to model that which we desire.  If I have a problem with self-centered ass bags, then need to not be self-centered ass bag.  It starts with me shutting the fuck up and checking in with someone else besides myself.  Am I always perfect at it?  Fuck no.  Hell, just yesterday I was at a Mind, Body, and Spirit Festival with one of my friends and after a while, I realized I’d spent a good chunk of time talking about myself.  And in that kind of situation, I realized the only thing and the best thing to do is to just acknowledge it, own it, and course correct.  Good news is, all it takes is a little, “Hey, I just realized we’ve spent all this time talking about me.  How are you doing?  What’s going on with you?”

Why is this the easiest and best course of action?

Because it’s what I would want in the same situation.

It’s not complicated, folks.  We’ve all got shit that peeves us to the core.  But if you’re in a position to live by example, then you need to do it.  And if you’re doing nothing but complaining, then I hate to break it to you, doll, but you’re part of the fucking problem.

Gandhi probably wouldn’t approve of my language, but I think he’d agree with me here.

Be the kind of friend that you’d be friends with.  If you hunger for change, then start with yourself.  After all, the only person you have control over is you. Nobody responds to yelling or bitching or complaining, just ask my husband.  That’s the fastest way to get tuned out.  Action and integrity are what influence and inspire people.  So, get out there and set a goddamn example.  You don’t need to be perfect; you just have to try.  Trying and failing trump inaction any day.

And for the love of God, put your shopping carts where they belong.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.