Wednesday, May 7, 2008

If I Could Save Pee In a Bottle

Aspen and I live in one of those neighborhoods with a single road feeding a dozen or so less-traveled roads. The main drag is curvy with posted speed limits of around 30MPH, making the 3-mile trip from the highway to our house seem like an eternity when you’re in a hurry. Of course, while driving that slow, you’re afforded temporary glances of neighbors’ spreads, dogs, horses and other farm animals, and the occasional elk or deer grazing nearby. Sadly, the views are coupled with the errant unsightly home or derelict property. I suppose they start to become part of the scenic woodwork after a while. Creating quite the opposite effect was the amount of roadside trash that began to surface when the snow started to melt. Once Aspen brought it to my attention, trash started popping up out of nowhere on this stretch, diverting our attention from the road and threatening the promise of any future houseguests. Finally, one day we decided to stop complaining about it and put our words into action, choosing a well-traveled 1.5-mile section of the main road and setting out to collect all of the trash on its shores. I put unGuy in the backpack and we parked our car on the side of the road with a sign stating ‘Trash Pickup Ahead’. We decided to work in tandem, combing one side of the road and then returning on the other. The task began in earnest, as we gleefully upheld our self-appointed roles as refuse stewards, joking about who would be the first to stumble on a dead body or porno magazine. About two hours and seven or eight full trash bags later, the novelty had worn off and the end of our journey couldn’t have felt more distant. But, shortly before our car came into view, a woman stopped to thank us for our efforts, reviving our spirits and serving as just reward for our voluntary deed. We didn’t find any corpses or porno, but I did learn a thing or two about the demographics of our neighborhood:


  • likes to drink and drive, beverage of choice being Miller High Life 40s. We found about 15 of these scattered throughout the 1.5-mile stretch, each in their own bag, and the bottle was always partially filled with beer or other undesirable liquid;
  • drinks a bunch of this beverage called ‘Talking Rain’ but can never finish the bottle;
  • chews that bottom-shelf tobacco Husky and spits into a beer or soda bottle, whatever’s available;
  • likes to eat a small bag of chips and drink a 20-oz. soda while driving, finishing off the snack by rolling up the chip bag like a joint and stuffing it into the empty bottle before throwing it out the window;
  • named ‘Sharon’ had a birthday in December.

Except for several lipstick-coated cigarette butts and maybe Sharon, I’d be willing to wager that the rest of the repetitive trash was borne by men. Slobs. Regardless, we’re delaying the unglamorous task of separating the trash from the recyclables until our stomachs have had a chance to recuperate. For now, the shoulders of this short segment are free of litter, bounded on either end by more trash-riddled roadway, and no one to scour its banks. I have a feeling we’ll be scavenger hunting again soon.

1 comment:

David Ray said...

So this unscientific study demonstrates that beer drinking while driving, smoking, and chewing tobacco leads to littering.

In other words, stupid is as stupid does. Not that I'm judging. :)

Good on you guys for taking action.