Every year for the past several years, our ward volunteers to participate in our city wide clean up. It’s not a complicated job – every person is assigned garbage bags, a brightly colored t-shirt (so drivers can see you and wonder if you are on work detail, I suppose), and gloves. Then we walk along, spot trash, pick it up, and put it in the bag. Even I can handle this. So, the last few years I try to help out. However, Saturday I wanted to go visit my new grand-niece and avoid Mother’s Day on Sunday. I decided to volunteer but leave early. I grabbed two bags and figured I’d work until I either filled up both bags or an hour and a half – whichever came first. Unfortunately, I filled two bags in an hour. And I only covered about a block. The word I think you’re looking for is “ew.” At least, that’s the word I used. Many, many times.
Our section to clean is across the street from a grade school and just down the road from a small convenience store. So the litter has the normal offenders. Cigarette butts that if each one were picked up they’d fill a bag with just them. Broken bottles. Plastic water bottles. Candy wrappers. And a whole lot of shopping bags. They like to congregate in an open field down from the school. The sagebrush captures them and do not like to let them go.
There are always a few finds that make me wonder. I wonder what the stories behind them are. I found a half of a skateboard. Just half. What happened to the other half? Did it have more sentimental value that the owner was willing to carry it home? Was this the bad half?
I also found a bumper of a Nissan. Sagebrush is notorious for hiding things. This is what I picture: someone pulled up to the curb and used the parked Nissan in front of him to come to a complete stop. When the driver stumbled out of the car, a bottle fell out, too. It broke. I know because I picked up the pieces. The driver, let’s call him Ed for convenience (I picked the name at random, no offense to any Eds reading this), has a lot of infractions with the law. The police are well acquainted with him. And the last thing Ed wants is another run-in with the boys-and-girls-in-blue. So, he decided he needed to hide the evidence. He had a nice chat with the sagebrush. The sagebrush family agreed to hide the evidence. I suspect not for free though. Someday, he’s going to owe them a huge favor. Sagebrush just seems kind of evil like that. He threw the bumper into the sagebrush and figured he was safe. Except, of course, for the fact the victim car no longer has a bumper. A detail the owner probably noticed. And Ed’s car was right behind it with little pieces of Nissan littered in the grill. Almost a perfect, drunken plan though.
Another find, and this one is kind of gross but I was wearing gloves and I figure you’re old enough to hear it, I found a pregnancy test. Talk about stories. Too many to list and the stories are a little too seedy for my little blog. I’ll let you paint your own scenarios. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell if it was a positive or negative because both were marked. Hmm, that gives the stories an interesting twist.
Every time I participate in the clean-up I’m amazed at just how gross people can be. Our little town gets a bad rap for not being “pretty.” But ditching trash in the sagebrush isn’t going to help. As a species, humans are a filthy and disgusting lot. “Don’t be a pig,” we say. The pigs answer, “Uh, leave us out of this. We’re not that gross.” And they are right. I have two trash bags full of ickiness to prove it.
Originally posted May 14, 2012