Tuesday, March 17, 2009


It was a lovely day here in New England, sunny and warm; and after attending to some errands I decided I would pick up some trash from the side of the road in front of my house. I do this, or try to do this, every year or so at this time, before the leaves come in and I can't find anything among the undergrowth.

I live on a fairly busy stretch of road. Though it's residential, and rural, my road is the only road into a part of my town that is otherwise cut off by a loop of the river. So if a car goes by once it goes by twice, if you know what I mean.

Now, my town has recycling, so the stuff I pick up has to be sorted before I can get rid of it. So, today, just for kicks, I thought I'd keep track of the crap I picked up. I only did about half the frontage today, which I'm estimating to be about 275-300 feet's worth, at least if the Google map scale on the satellite picture of my house is accurate.

And just what did I find?

Bulk-wise, it was about half bottles, cups, and cans, with the other half miscellaneous bits of junk like lottery tickets, candy wrappers, shopping bags, a good sized cardboard Dell box, a single purple latex glove, and a plastic VW hubcap someone didn't miss. That's bad enough. But when I broke down the bottles and cans, good Christ.

There were a total of 52 beverage containers that I could identify (if I found a hunk of styrofoam that was more than half of a cup, I counted it as a whole). Of those: 22 were liquor containers (42.31%), another 22 (42.31%) were from fast food joints, and the remaining eight (15.39%) were either soda or water containers.

Let's stop a moment, here. Let that sink in. Did you notice that?

42.31%, getting close to half of the bottles/containers/cans I found on the side of the road in front of my house, were ones that had held alcohol.

Keep thinking about that.

Now, ask yourself, where does stuff on the side of the road come from? Well, okay, true, some of it does blow in from the neighbor's when they don't pack up their trash well (which is I suspect where the Dell box came from). But bottles and cans? Don't blow around all that much (and shouldn't be in the trash in the first place since they a) are not burnable, the prerequisite in my town if the truck is going to pick it up, and b) they get returned for the deposit). This stuff, these alcohol containers, are most likely being thrown from peoples' cars. Alcohol containers. That many of them.

Let me tell you it freaked me right the fuck out.

It matches, if you remember, the number of fast food beverage containers I found. That means, or it sure looks like it means (I am not a statistician, after all), that people are just as likely to be barreling down my road sucking down a Bud Lite or Busch or fucking Christ, one of those 50mL bottles of the hard stuff--Wolfschmidt vodka or Jack Daniels or Goldschlager, as they are to be sipping on a Dunkin' Donuts coffee or a soda from Wendy's or McDonald's.

I find this really, really frightening.


Genie Sea said...

This gave me chills.

Anonymous said...

YIKES! Cul. De. Sac. As in: dead end.

I still get some stupid-assed trash(used diapers are the worst), but triple-horned, green-eared, billion-barbed-dicked devils-- WTF???

That purple glove is freaking me out. You don't know what it's been used for or on whom(s).

Please tell me your wearing gloves!

Thalia said...

Good grief but you have a vivid imagination, K.

I was wearing gloves (gardening gloves anyway) don't worry; though anyway the purple glove had quite obviously been through the rain a few times. It had not occurred to me to be worried about the thing; I was more concerned about the 7 or 8 little bottles of Wolfschmidt vodka.

And I only did half the frontage.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I've also been thinking that maybe after a few gulps of a fast food beverage, these drunken litter-bugs are *spiking* their otherwise innocuous drinks.

What's wrong with a vivid imagination? I'm usually *never* bored... Huh. Maybe a little high-strung. At times. It's a compliment, I think.

I just deleted a couple of paragraphs of over-blanched vividness. You're happy. Happy, happy, singing and dancing happy.

I, however, am scared. I noticed it was only half the frontage. (gulp) No pun intended.

Thalia said...

I never said there was anything wrong with a vivid imagination. Please! I know well enough that I am hardly the person to engage in such a pot vs. kettle debate.

And anyway, we are artists. Vivid imaginations come in very handy a lot of the time.

Anonymous said...

Wait a sec.

Handy? Glove? Pun?

Please don't tell me it to T H I S long to figure it out.