The other one - let's call her "Chrissy" - was wearing a Climate Change Denial t-shirt which featured an image of a lovely hot air balloon with a slogan about how environmental initiatives are "a bunch of hot air and a waste of tax payer dollars."
That she wore this in a public, outdoor, come-look-at-and-enjoy-nature park funded by tax dollars showed she was either 1. a complete and total MASTER of irony, and I should bow in her presence or 2. that she's a huge fucking hypocrite, and I should push her into Rottenwood Creek, where, if there was any justice in the world, she'd land in some pile of putrid styrofoam and plastic refuse and get a taste of what fish and water foul experience on the daily.
As I know irony to be largely misunderstood by the general populace, I supposed Chrissy belonged in Camp 2, and I immediately hated her for it.
Yes, almost instantly, the embarrassment I felt for showing my ass was replaced by anger at Chrissy for showing hers. "What a stupid bitch," I thought. Few things irritate my more than hypocrisy - and encountering hypocrisy emblazoned on a t-shirt somehow took me to a whole new level of irate. I fumed on the path for a good 400 or so yards.
And then I approached the part of the path that leads to one of my favorite places in our fair city.
From the highway, you'd never know it was there, but beneath the 75/285 overpass are beautiful, cascading waterfalls; a metal bridge suspends park visitors over the falls.
I could stay here for days.
As I stood, arms draped over the rails of the bridge, I noticed a spider's web that extended from the bridge to a nearby tree, which would bloom soon.
Have you ever stopped to notice the beauty and intricacy of a spider's web?
Moved, my anger began to melt away, and I noticed that the fire in my gut was slowly transforming itself into something else.
The only word I can use to describe it is pity.
I began to pity Chrissy. Because, while Chrissy and her friend ran right over this bridge, Chrissy hadn't noticed the spider web. She'd moseyed right past the to-bloom buds, not stopping to see that life was reinventing itself before her unseeing eyes.
Chrissy, who, if her shirt was any indication, would clear cut that tree for a paycheck and render that spider extinct if it in any way hindered her "prosperity" (Yes, a direct quote from the offending t-shirt) would never know what I have the extreme privilege to know - that a tree has value outside of a lumber mill, that the grace and exoticism of a spider, while terrifying in certain respects, are also extraordinarily beautiful.
Chrissy, it seemed, was one of those unfortunate people who "know the price of everything and the value of nothing."
On the way home, I started picking up snails.