Yesterday I picked up garbage

23 May

2:04 pm

Yep. Instead of doing anything else, I got so sick of seeing trash in our neighborhood, I went out (for the second time in a few weeks) and picked it up. From about 1 to 3:30 or 4, I picked up trash along the side of the road and in the bush (our loving expression for all the trees and green stuff that fills our hillsides and makes this place so green and tropical…in the wet season; right now, it’s really dry, quite ugly), and I filled five 13-gallon bags. Last time, I filled four bags!

It makes me so angry–what the eff is wrong with people here?, I think. Then, I have to admit to myself that it is like this everywhere in the world, more or less. Maybe not so much in less populated areas, or, “unicorn areas,” where everyone cares about the environment enough to not throw their trash out the car window in the first place; but, littering happens in the first world, it happens in the second world (where I live, I would call us second or maybe 2.5-world–haha), and it happens in the third world. (When I volunteered for a few months in a developing country a few years ago, we went to the beach one weekend and I saw, as I dunked my head under the water, a full LINE of trash floating along the sandy bottom, lapping against the shore).

It had to be done; I mean, sure, I felt dirty, disgusting, gross, and angry. Still, I had to do it–I walk these roads every day for pleasure, for exercise; if no one else is going to do it, I have to do it because I want to at least believe that I am living in a clean place (granted, there is still so much OTHER trash buried along the hillsides in the bush, I just can’t see it)! I feel like going to our Home Depot and buying a sign that says, No Dumping; I want to make my own sign that says, This is Not a Dump, Assholes–People Live Here, but, I have the feeling that’s probably not what I should do (haha).

I don’t know why people here litter; I can GUESS that it’s because they have not been taught not to litter. I think it really comes down to example: if your parents throw trash around, you will, too. If you aren’t taught to care for your environment, you won’t. Sometimes I think it’s an unconscious expression of self-loathing, as in, no one cares about us, so why should we care about them/the natural world? Partly it’s because there are, actually, a lack of garbage cans; an infrequent spread of dumpsters and compactors along the roads; and, frankly, I am not even sure if there are things like fines or citations if you’re caught being a litterbug here.

I don’t know; what I DO know is that, I just had to pick it up. And, once done, I wondered, was it even worth it? You can’t really tell that any trash has been picked up as you’re driving by; plus, people are just going to throw more trash around, and I’ll have to go out again in a week or month and pick up the endless plastic cups, Heineken bottles (rolls eyes; people here LOVE them some Heineken–haha), car parts (don’t even get me started on how irritated I get seeing random car parts, entire cars, um, household appliances…just thrown off the hillside into the bush!?)…

I do think it’s worth it, as is any attempt at improvement. I mean, it’s sort of like getting sober–no one notices the changes that are happening inside of you as much as you do. Maybe no one pays attention at all. But you know. And, it changes you, knowing that you are finally acting to change your life, that your actions are finally changing your life.

Anyway, I am glad I did it. There are regular beach cleanups here, but I haven’t done one in a long time. I figured, doing my ‘hood two times (for a total of nine bags) might make up for that…

Today will be a good day; it’s sunny, I am not hungover (ever-grateful), and in addition to going for a jog and doing a few tedious “paperwork”-type things, I am going to try to make pad thai from scratch for dinner. I just heard that restaurants here are opening to limited numbers of patrons next week, after the holiday, which is good news on multiple counts (my boo works in the industry, so it’ll be good to have things back up and running again, if only partially; and, while we love cooking at home, it’s getting old!). No playing with trash today, friends!

Our dog is resting peacefully in her spot in the bedroom. Every time I walk by her, I check to see if she’s still breathing–sad, but true. She’s hanging in there, but, she is definitely no longer living her best life; I had to force her to go outside to pee last night, but she could barely walk out there to do it. As usual, she had pooped on her bed this morning; so far, she’s been too tired to go outside today so that I can wash her off. Poor friend; there truly is no dignity in aging, as my boo said the other day.

This is starting to be a rambler of a post, so I will sign off. Have a wonder-full Saturday, all…

6 Responses to “Yesterday I picked up garbage”

  1. Adrian May 24, 2020 at 8:06 am #

    It matters.

  2. drgettingsober May 25, 2020 at 4:40 am #

    Good on you for doing this – seeing you out there just may stop someone littering! Empathise with the old dog situation as have that myself – trying to second guess if she wants to live any longer is heartbreaking 💞💞

  3. nomorebeer2019 May 25, 2020 at 7:44 am #

    man I fell you, I went on a “trash picking up” hike a few months ago, and we picked up trash in the forest for 4 hours and along a road and it felt gross and icky and there was a “what’s the point” feeling to it, and yet IF NOT US THEN WHO? Also yaaaaaaay Pad Thai from scratch !!!! 🙂 xxx Anne

  4. Dwight Hyde May 26, 2020 at 3:09 am #

    When my dad passed years ago, I Adopted a Spot in town that I clean up a few times a year. They put up a sign and it says in memory of The Old Dog. That’s what we always called him and how he’d sign notes to us. He was always volunteering to help people out. Actually he didn’t volunteer he just did it, just like you because it needed to be done and it was the right thing to do. Sometimes I get bummed seeing all the trash, but often I’m humming like he use to do and it’s a time we connect now😊. It’s good work you’re doing and people do take notice. What’s the main items you find? For me, it’s cigarette butts and those small shots of liquor bottles. All I can imagine is some sad soul getting away from home on a walk and trying to escape quickly into the fog.
    Big hugs, pats, and smooches on the head to your Old Dog❤️

    • Drunky Drunk Girl May 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm #

      What a beautiful comment–wow, that is a really cool idea re: your spot and your dad. Main items? Everything! All kinds of household garbage, which include plastic containers (milk jugs, water and juice bottles, plastic wrappers/wrappings), glass bottles (the Heineken!), and then there is an entire category of waste like, car parts, cars, appliances…those are things that of course, I can’t pick up and are usually buried in the bush, but we can still see them. Mainly, though, it’s just like, stuff that would blow out of your garbage bag on the way to the dump…that you just let blow. I appreciate your comment–I will go out again soon and start where I left off! xx

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