Nothing ruins a good walk like globs of trash littering the sides of the road. After muttering curses for a while against the people who use the scenery as their wastebasket, I finally realized that I could pick up the trash and then I wouldn't have to look at it. The next time I set out, I carried a kitchen trash bag and a pair of gloves. Before I had gone half-way up the hill, I had filled the bag and could barely carry it. (That was when I learned to start collecting trash on the way down the hill.) It was a Sunday afternoon and several people drove by, but no one acknowledged my lonely quest for tidiness. Maybe some of them said to themselves, "Look at that poor lady cleaning the roadside. I swear I will never toss another beer can out the window."
I did have plenty of time to make some observations about litterers:
In my neighborhood, at least, Busch is the beer of choice to swig in the car and toss out the window.
Malboros are a favorite of litterers.
Cigarette filters are not biodegradable. Couldn't we get them to put that on the packages? Would anybody care?
Construction workers seem to lose a lot of equipment along the road. I found a level, a box of screws, and some siding.
I couldn't understand the reasoning of people who toss out soiled disposable diapers. Then I looked up "disposable" in the dictionary, and it became clear. "Disposable" means "designed to be thrown out." The diaper tossers are very, very literal.
The strangest object I found was a long green shoelace tied around the neck of a plastic alien. Maybe someone was taking the alien for a walk and it got away. I took the shoelace home to repair something, and the alien--well, it's pretty cute. I think I'll keep it.
Joyce Sidman in Chicago: April 20
3 hours ago