When I need work done on my aging Camry, I haul it over to a little shop on South Blvd. in Charlotte. They advertise that the work will be done speedily. It never is.
So, rather than sit around for the better part of an hour watching their grainy small screen TV or thumbing through last year’s (or the year before) magazines, I head out the door and take a purposeful stroll along the busy street.
I’m on the sidewalk to test my theory that the greater volume of traffic – perhaps tens of thousands of cars per day traverse this four lane arterial – the greater the amount of trash and litter. Sadly, there’s no evidence to the contrary to disprove my hypothesis. Invariably, I head less than a block away from the repair shop to one of the messiest places I’ve ever seen on any road anywhere. It is a literal low spot that is a repository/collection point for an insane amount of litter/garbage. This one locale is Exhibit A about everything that is inherently wrong with treating consumable goods as so much waste. It may be out of sight for passing cars, but it is well within the visual range of walkers.
In terms of bagging volume, this 30 yard stretch of would easily – easily – require 10-12 Harris Teeter bags. That breaks down to one bag per three yards. (And consider that I usually take one bag on my 2.5 mile daily hike).
There is the temptation to return one day with that many bags or at least a few larger heavyweight bags. Yet as far as drops in the bucket go, this forlorn stretch is just that – a drop in the bucket along a thoroughfare that is a complete mess every foot of the way for miles and miles. It would be like pissing into the wind. How much good does that do you?
No sooner do I turn my head in utter disgust than I’m on my way down the pavement – and there’s more trash to be seen. Literally, there is something – many somethings, actually – every damned step of the way that any conscientious pathway environmentalist could stoop to conquer.
Here’s what’s doubly depressing: This is only one stretch along the thousands of miles of busy streets in and around Charlotte. My skimpy math skills are incapable of calculating what a colossal amount of litter confronts us, challenges us, and insults us.
In some ways I’m glad the repair shop doesn’t take longer to do its work. That would only mean that much more distance for me to cover – and that many more street side pig sties to find, and to bitch about.