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Things are down in Uptown Charlotte …

I must live in LaLa Land (aka South Park).

My ‘hood is sparkly and clean compared to what was just witnessed in Uptown Charlotte.

Plastic bags swirled in the wind blown rain. There were plastic bottles and metal cans here and there (and everywhere) along with remnants of clothing, food wrappers, et al. Even a corporate memo was plastered face up to the damp pavement. The litter was depressing in its enormity and scope. I soon doubled down on my depression; waterlogged shoes meant my attitude was soggy, too, as I sought refuge from the storm beneath a canopy at the Third Street light rail station for my trip toward home.

Of the blight seen earlier, however, worse still was the junk strewn between the light rail tracks. Sure, only a blithering idiot would venture between the steel ribbons, but man, what a mess. If our erstwhile President were here, he might Tweet ‘… disgusting. Terrible. Sad.’ And I’d agree with him for once. (That would be the extent of of our common ground.)


Charlotte has done a nice job with light rail (and needs to do more, much more) but it’s what is between and beside the tracks that is just plain awful.

As I cruise home, still visible through rain splattered windows along the rail line is a veritable landfill-worth of urban junk. The only difference between the real thing and what I see as we whiz by is this debris field isn’t covered with dirt. The trash stays in plain view.

I’ll be home soon enough with a path of my own to worry about. This decrepit scene will be in my rear view mirror but hardly forgotten. What I just saw in a miles-long stretch of Charlotte and what I’ll pick up later in my LaLa Land isn’t an apples-to-oranges comparison. Too bad. Sad.

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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