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Seven days in May …

A little while back, I posted a photo of several days worth of litter in a single unruly pile of junk. Usually the contents of each bag are strewn about in mishmash fashion to put the harsh spotlight of shame on individual pieces of junk. The veiled threat was then made to stockpile a week's worth of trash for another picture of infamy.

Seven bags in seven days. It's an easy 20 lbs. of garbage.

Seven bags in seven days. It's an easy 20 lbs. of garbage.

The chance for the photo came about today. This morning's early walk produced the seventh bag collected in the past eight days. But a huge mistake was made of the resulting jumble of litter on my driveway. Not that I wish there was more daylight or better photo optics. Nah, neither of those. It's the lack of photo styling. After the first couple of bags were dumped out I just kind of stood there gawking at the volume and forgot to spread out the pile. The remaining bags were heaped atop the other residue. As it is, the resulting mess was nearly 10 feet across and 6 - 7 feet from top to bottom. Under normal circumstances with normal spacing, it could have been - should have been - 12-14 feet wide and 10 feet deep.
Here it is - the residue of seven days in May. But I goofed when it comes to picking up after goofs - I should have spread the pile out to capture the true scope of this one-path disaster.

Here it is - the residue of seven days in May. But I goofed when it comes to picking up after goofs - I should have spread the pile out to capture the true scope of this one-path disaster.

In hindsight, a few moments spent to shuffle the debris would have made for a more compelling photograph. Too many pieces of litter remained anonymous beneath the pile and deserved to be visible. Indeed, when I re-sorted everything back into bags (which took roughly 40 minutes), more than one bag was filled-to-the-gills of the hated polystyrene. What is truly depressing to me is that this representation of seven days in May - 20 pounds by my estimation - is merely one path in one city. It's irritating, and deflating, to think that trashy counterparts to my route exist virtually everywhere in the U.S. And just think of the brands represented in this 10' by 6' rogue's gallery of rubble. It's a who's who of

product makers: Coca Cola, Evian, Budweiser, Burger King, Miller Lite, Coors, Chick-Fil-A, Smirnoff, McDonalds, 7 Eleven, Dairy Queen, Trojan (ha), Frito Lay, Gatorade, Bojangles, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts. That’s where my boneheadedness by not spreading out my finds also stings a bit: I can’t see, let alone remember, all the makers of all the products. Many remain unseen, and thus unnamed.

Don’t expect to see another such photo anytime soon. It takes too long to sort through the resulting crap. For another, I doubt my neighbors appreciated the sight of Harris Teeter bags – one after another, day after day – plopped next to my trash can.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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