Now for the record I need to start off by saying that this research is not based in any type of scientific research I’ve come across, or made up for that matter. In fact not a single dolphin was questioned in the gathering of this research, and by research I mean the short conversation I heard while I was standing in line outside a sushi restaurant in Maui.
The sushi restaurant was in our things to do in Maui book. The place had half price appetizers, sushi rolls, and sake after 10 PM, and karaoke! I have many fond memories of karaoke, not so much me singing, but me enjoying the singing and usually attempted singing of others. This was no different; the best performance of the night was, hands down, an old gray-haired Hawaiian with a cane. He was a largish sized man who chose to sing a song by Smokey Robinson and nailed it. It was amazing that a man that size for hit notes that high. And no, the Smokey-like Hawaiian was not part of the research, but definitely deserves some recognition.
The research happened about 9:50 PM, while standing in line waiting for the doors to open. We were the fifth group in line and shortly after getting there a red convertible pulled up and three youngish kids, i.e. barely old enough to legally drink, got out and got in line behind us (two boys and one girl). I don’t think they were bad people, I just think they had a different set of priorities than my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I have. As we attempted to talk about our favorite parts of the day and share our excitement about going snorkeling that following morning, this threesome talked in the vibrato of children who are trying to whisper, but haven’t figured out it involves lowering the volume of your speaking voice. Also, their favorite way to begin almost every sentence was with the phrase, “Oh my god.”
Boy 1 then announced to everyone in line, while only making eye contact with his friends, that he needed a smoke. So he walked over to his little red convertible (no, sadly it was not a Corvette), opened the trunk, dug through a backpack and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. As he stood next to the trunk of his car and smoked the girl yelled to him, “Oh my god you look so skinny standing next to your car.”
To which he replied, “Oh my god, really?”
Which caused Angela whisper to me, “Why do they have to talk like that?”
“Oh my god, what do you mean?” I whispered back to her.
She hit me.
“Oh my god, ouch!” I said, smiling at her. (It was officially on at that point.)
Now I did not see Boy 1 drop his cigarette on the ground and get back. This was probably due to my threats and taunts of tickles directed toward Angela as she attempted to hit me again. What disrupted this playful exchange was the lady standing in front of. Seconds after Boy 1 got back in line, she walked past us and up to Boy 1, saying, “I just love your car, could I talk to you for a minute?” And she pulled him over to the back of his car for a quick chat.
I’m not sure if it was the acoustics of the parking lot being just so that the conversation carried perfectly to where we were standing, or if it was the fact that she too did not understand the volume differences between a whisper and a normal talking voice, but this is what she said, “Hi, I’m a marine biologist on this island and I know that 95% of all littered cigarettes butts end up in the ocean and are responsible for making dolphins and other life very sick. You need to pick up your cigarette butt and put it in the trash. Thank you so much.” And then back to her place in line without even a “please” or “thank you”.
Boy 1 stood there for a second, looking like he was processing what just happened to him. Then without a word, bent over picked up his cigarette butt, walked it over to the trash can and disposed of it properly. As he walked up to his friends he said, in the quietest his voice had used since we they got there, “I totally understand where she’s coming from.” Then promptly changed the subject.
Angela turned to me with her large eyes full of joy and amazement. “That is the best thing I have seen all day,” adding, “I love that lady!”
A few minutes later we were inside ordering an excessive amount of sushi and giggling at the cigarette incident and then at the tone deaf couple trying to sing some Johnny Cash song and failing at every note.
So what’s the lesson? I guess it’s… well, I mean people are going to smoke if they want to, even if everyone agrees (even smokers) it’s an unhealthy and disgusting addiction. No, I think the point is, throw your cigarette butts in the trash. Because every time you drop a cigarette butt on the ground, a baby dolphin bursts into flames… too much? Ok fine, every time you drop a cigarette butt on the ground, a dolphin has a chance of becoming addicted too. And you can get into a lot of trouble trying to feed Nicorette to dolphins… ahem, I mean, so I’ve heard (whistles innocently). Seriously, if you smoke don’t litter. Actually, just don’t litter period. The dolphins say thanks (yes, for not littering AND for all the fish).
Any no-littering stories you’d care to share?
Google Images, keywords: dolphins, standing in line, oh my god, cigarette litter, sick dolphin and litter free planet.