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The battered public space

When the responsibility for cleaning is everyone's responsibility, it's nobody's.

As we are

If there is a phrase from my old man that was rumbling in my head, it's: “When something is everyone's responsibility, it's no one's  responsibility  .” Of course he said it when we were fighting with my brothers to see who didn't set the table and who — least — washed the dishes. But over time I learned to give the phrase the true value that corresponds to it. The state of public space makes me think about my old man. And it generates the memory about five times a day. Every time I go out on the street, at least. Some will say that the question is the inability of waste collectors. Of course it's not like that. The first thing you need to do so that there is no grime is not to generate it. The first thing to do so that there are no broken benches, stairs or light poles is not to break them. I have two anecdotes about it.

The first one includes my brother. He went to an industrial college, so in one of the first years he had a carpentry workshop. In addition to the rudiments of the craft and some more conceptual works, teachers taught how to teach: doing. So, one of the jobs to approve the subject was to fix the school furniture that required spare parts. Well, and here is the important thing about the anecdote: the broken furniture did not reach for each student to have his own. And the few who were broken were because of use or because they were too old. That is, since the first year they taught students to fix what was broken, then, throughout the six years of school,  nobody broke the furniture . Because they understood, I think, that the responsibility that everything was in condition was literally theirs. What a teaching. Another than Merli.

The second anecdote includes Dr. Carlos Salvador  Bilardo . The story tells that one day, in a rally, he saw one of his players who, after taking out the wrapper from an alfajor, threw it to the ground. He didn't tell him anything. Later (considering that we are talking about Bilardo, there may have been four world championships in between), Dr. was invited to eat at the roñoso's house. When dessert came, there were fruits. Dr. chose a tangerine. He ceremoniously peeled it, ate it whole praising its sweetness, and when he finished, he gathered the shell and walked it in the middle of the living room. When the roñoso asked him, between hazy and laughing, “What are you doing, Carlos?”, the Dr. replied, “Since you at the concentration threw the paper of the alfajor to the floor, I thought it was a habit of your family to decorate with  garbage .”

When the responsibility for cleaning is everyone's responsibility, it's nobody's. Now, if the ones who pass the broom are us, we probably won't even fall off the crumbs.

Publication Date: 20/04/2018

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