Monday, April 25, 2016


The  other day I received an email from one of my more conscientious neighbors asking if I wanted to join her in cleaning up the road. Since I had adopted the road from Bob Meadows all the way down to Deniston Ford Bridge in the name of the CLGM and The Old School for Social Sculpture, and had been rather slack in my litter plucking duties over the years, I couldn't very well say no. But once I agreed to schedule it for the evening of 4/22 (earth day), a seder dinner invite came through and I begged off. Feeling the guilt the next morning, I grabbed some garbage bags and set out on my own to redeem myself.
   As part of my conceptual work I have adopted a boy, a girl, a cow, and two roads. These are symbolic gestures that require minor effort to complete. Those signs you see (even Trump has the West Side Highway) are as easy to get as placing a phone call to your local highway dept. A stretch of road must be unadopted and at least a mile long. Once you adopt it you are supposed to maintain the road by keeping it free from litter. Like I said, my roads have suffered under my parenting.
    The day was warm and dry. The vegetation had yet to bloom on the mountain, so beer cans, bottles, Styrofoam and sundry crap stood out, yet to be choked by weeds. It was a workout stooping to grab the debris and in no time the first bag was filled. Petty soon I was noticing patterns. Someone likes Budlite, many were patronizing the new Dunkin Doughnuts in Rock Hill and the usual scattering of McDonalds were as omnipresent as always in the ditches and banks. But there was one thing in particular that was really starting to piss me off. Someone was a Newport smoker, who did not like to dispose of the empty boxes properly. I must've picked up 20 or more of the blue and white hard packs. In my mind I began to form a profile of the offender. It was a man or a woman, maybe Black, maybe White, maybe Hispanic. She/he had kids, a junker car and no regard for the surroundings. That narrowed it down to about 90% of the hood.
    Then, as I headed up towards Cemetery Rd. I heard someone yelling. I saw a woman and a little girl running across their yard towards me. I couldn't make out what she was saying. Then as she got closer I realized she was either deaf or had a speech impediment. Finally I made out "bottles". In my raggedy sweater and scraggly beard she had mistaken me for a homeless, bottle deposit picker and was offering me more. I smiled and tried to explain that I was cleaning up the road, not looking for deposit money. Then I noticed that she held a lit cigarette. "Do you smoke Newports?" I asked. She nodded, I'm sure ready to give me one. In the nicest way I knew how, I told her how many empty packs I'd picked up and told her I knew it was she who had tossed them. She kinda smiled sheepishly and turned, the little girl in tow, and went back up the drive, dragging on her menthol smoke.

    It took two days to properly clean both roads. My back and legs ache. Today I separated all the white garbage from the 5 bags I had filled, placing it in a brand new chicken pen I had purchased at Tractor Supply, now plopped down in my sculpture garden. I don't know if the Newport smoker -a young (I think deaf) white woman, will stop tossing her empty packs out her car or if any of the perpetrators will stop their lazy ass habit of fouling up my adopted roads. But if any of you read this blog you are on notice. Like any parent, I'm just trying to do my best. Come on PEOPLE! Let's keep Glen Wild clean. My little roads deserve some tlc.      


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