Yesterday was my final give; my 29. It was solitary, which for me seemed appropriate. As I have wanted to do for some time now, I finally took a trash bag on a walk with the dog. On the way back from the park, I started picking things up that were strewn throughout the streets. There is tons of it around here. It bothers me to look at; in fact it's one of my least favorite things about this neighborhood. I always feel like picking it up might fix the situation, though I also feel so hopeless about the sheer amount of it. This scenario happens a lot around here: someone walks by and just discards what is in their hands; without a second thought, without so much as a stammer in their step. One day about a year ago, I was getting off of the light rail and a girl threw her trash out the door at my stop. When I got off the train I picked it up and threw it back in towards her before the doors closed. I was so pissed off and I could hear her and her girlfriends just laughing as the doors closed. I knew the point was missed. I know they are just kids who haven't been taught this simple lesson but it's also a subtle testament to the lack of hope and pride in life. I feel it’s so lazy and irresponsible. I don’t’ understand how someone can mindlessly do that and move on.
You can imagine how strange it was yesterday: me walking with some big white kitchen bag, stopping every few feet to put something in it (discarded plastic bottles, first aid tape, cigarette boxes and butts, plastic wrappers, and styrofoam food containers). Ginger was confused; for once she was walking me and I was stopping her too much. We made our way back to the high school track and did one lap; stopping every few feet to pick something up. That is really how the idea first came to me. There is so much crap on that track. I am always so surprised at how dirty it is and I always think that the students deserve to have a clean spot to “play” in, even though I know they are a major contributor to said trash. I hoped that what I was doing would lead someone to pick up a piece of trash too. Perhaps one of these kids would see me and realize this is their neighborhood as well. It is where they live and they should take pride in it, not trash it.