Art: Litter Collection

I live behind the “low-rent” shopping center in town – you’ve seen them – the ones with two tax prep places, GoodWill and the Kidney donation stores as “anchors”, Big Lots, the Spanish supermarket, a rental store, a cash checking “bank”, and a laundry mat, plus a Chinese takeout place. Mine is too low-end for even a pizza place; that is in the shopping center across the street in front of the Walmart. The non-standard items in this sprawling decrepit tapped-out capitalistic mecca is the biker bar (member-only) and a weekend auction house.

Between the three dumpsters, plus the Wendy’s at the corner, we have two or three trash trucks go through on any given day and most don’t put that barrier across the top as they travel through the neighborhood because of the low speeds. Which means trash is constantly being blown out of the dump trucks. More trash travels from people dropping something in the large parking lot when going into shop or coming back. The highway frontage doesn’t help. And still more trash is accumulated from the three bus stops and one bus station in the area as people walk to them, from them, and between them while eating or smoking and just dropping one “minor” thing. That is a lot of minor stuff between everyone.

Every day, I take a shopping bag and go out and collect trash for fifteen minutes as a break from writing. I only go one block each direction from my little corner – north, south, east, and west. Just one direction per day.

Every day I come back with a full bag of trash. I’ve been doing this for years.

That is how much litter is in my little part of the world. A small bag every day. If I don’t do it for a month, I’m 30 bags behind and can collect them if I double or triple up the bags for a longer walk.

I’ve had random passers-by ask if I am doing forced community service. I’m like “I live here and want to have a clean place to live.”

I mean how hard it that to understand? You live in the world, maintenance is needed.

I can’t stand exercise just to exercise. And just cleaning trash would annoy me to. But combining the two, making the world prettier and keeping me healthy at the same time – just all the positives.

Litter collection – community, personal health, gardening, making the world pretty. An art in itself.

January is just around the corner and many people make exercise commitments, but don’t stick with them because … exercise just to exercise doesn’t have much incentive. Maybe doing something as a “plus” might help like it does for me. Get a little reacher thing (available in the Walmarts in the pharmacy area near the canes) and take one of the small shopping bags and collect litter for 15 minutes each day on your walk. You too can leave the world better than you found it each and every day.