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‘Charlotte, we have a problem’ …

My walk this morning to a coffee shop at Foxcroft took me voluntarily along one of south Charlotte’s busiest thoroughfares – Fairview Road.

It’s two lanes of heavy zoom-zoom traffic. It was a purposeful route. I wanted to see with my own eyes the extent of litter in an unpatrolled area (by a trash picker upper, I mean). Any time I plod a new route, there are moments of utter frustration at accumulated litter and trash. Such was the case today.

I bear witness to what could only be described as a trash heap running nearly the length of the south side of Fairview from Colony eastward to the west entrance of Foxcroft. There, in the underbrush beyond a guard rail, is a mountain of junk: fast food containers, bottles and cans, large plastic bins and other sorts of plastic. It was disgusting.

Even if the drivers and passengers in speeding cars wanted to notice, most of the garbage is beyond their view. The debris lies down a short embankment or is hidden by foliage which, as the spring continues apace, will only serve to screen off the jetsam that much more. It was thrown there and there it will lie, unseen, until some caring soul comes along to do something about it.

It’s doubtful anyone will – or should. There’s just too much of trash. The volume is enormous. The street is very busy and the sidewalk is hard against the right lane of traffic. I may take a stab at it but Harris Teeter bags aren’t sturdy enough for this gargantuan task. But if I do, it sure as hell won’t be on a weekday morning; there’s too much traffic. And most days, there’s not enough time considering the enormity of this environmental predicament and at a minimum this would be a several hour ordeal.

And that says nothing about what is most likely a similarly sickening situation not too many yards away on the north side of the road. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in Apollo 13, ‘Charlotte, we have a problem.’

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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