During my high school years field parties were celebrated. Such a thing is exactly as it sounds–a party in a field. Typically, the field was at or around a high school in the county and the party included alcoholic beverages, mostly cheap beer and wine coolers. The participants? High school students who had been informed of the impromptu mass party.
Given that I attended high school before the advent of mobile phones (at least affordable pocket-sized mobile phones), I recognize it was a feat to organize such a meetup. Given that the invitations were via word of mouth, oftentimes there was speculation that the police were aware of the planned event. The fix? The time and location of the party changed. Yes. Just like that.
It was, of course, inevitable that the police (or security officers) would learn of the field party location. Indeed, the question was never whether the party would be busted, only when. When the police came the protocol was simple, ditch and dash. The result? Bottles and cans–empty, full, or somewhere in between–dotted the landscape of the field after the revelers fled. It wasn’t pretty. But what do 16 and 17 year old kids know?
The armed services Birthday Ball season began a few weeks ago in Okinawa. Each service hosts one or more formal ball to celebrate the establishment of the service. Given the limited on-base venues available to host such a formal celebration, the Officers’ Club around the corner from our home is the site for many balls throughout October and November.
This morning, as I was walking to the gym, I noticed a few cars remaining in the Officers’ Club parking lot, which is neither an uncommon site nor a bad thing. Indeed, I’d much prefer someone take a taxi home than get behind the wheel tipsy. But what was an unusual sight were the bottles and cans of alcohol left in the parking lot. It were as if a lot party had been broken up by base police.
This is not a post about moral outrage. To the contrary, I understand that some will want to let loose and celebrate this annual event with pre- and/or post-ball partying. What I don’t understand is why those who do so can’t take their empties with them to dispose of properly post-ball. I questioned the responsibility, character, and accountability of those leaving garbage in the parking lot for others to clean. And, then, I wondered whether anyone but me cares.