I watch the smoker count the number of cigarette butts in his line of sight, which must be about eight or ten, and even though he acknowledges that I have emerged from the restaurant to sweep up each and every one of those butts, he insists on throwing his onto the sidewalk–as opposed to the smoker’s pole just feet away–and trudging his way back into the establishment (to a waiting beer and a fiancée who wishes he would just quit already). Of course, he avoids eye contact with me as a way of muting his conscience (similar to how he avoids looking at the starving third-world children in those charity adverts on television). To him, I’m just a poverty-stricken Congolese boy with a distended stomach, someone he can’t look directly at for fear of having to review his life choices and then contemplate his lack of contribution to important causes in this global society. Oh well, it’s just one more butt to sweep anyway, but sweet Jesus! He didn’t even step on it!

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