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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Things You See

On my outdoor running routes, I see lots of stuff. Sure, I see different people and cars and buildings, grass, trees, etc, but I'm talking about the other stuff -- the stuff alongside the road or sidewalk or trail. Mostly I see garbage. One of my routes goes past a nearby high school, and a McDonald's is on the opposite corner of the high school, so I see empty cups, wrappers, and crumpled bags tossed next to the sidewalk there. I can picture the students stopping by McDonald's on their way to school and scarfing down that Egg McMuffin before they need to be seated in first period, or on the way home from school, when they crave a Shamrock shake they stop by again. And then, once they have had their fill, they simply toss the trash by the side of the road or out their car window.

But trash is everywhere by the side of the road, not just by the high school. There are wrappers, cans, beer bottles, cigarettes, and day old newspapers laying by the road -- apparently, there are a lot of litter bugs in the world. Garbage is the most common element I see, but it is by no menas the only thing I see. Every once in a while I spot just one shoe (always that loner shoe, where does it come from? is it dropped by heaven?), sometimes I see a kid's toy, a stray tennis or golf ball, and for several months, I continued to see what could only be debris from hurricane Wilma (pieces of screen, fence, roofing, etc). I have even passed textbooks and what appears to be notes and test scores; again, they must be the posessions of high school students.

I just observe all this discarded material and keep running; in some ways I feel as though I should pick it up, but I'm running, and I'm not carrying a garbage bag. Eventually it does get picked up (by gnomes I assume), but then someone drives by and tosses his or her mess out the car window. I never see them do it, but it's the only explanation (although, once I did see someone throw a McDonald's shake at another car -- I think that was thrown in anger though, but I didn't observe them retrieving the cup once it bounced off the other car). If only everyone ran and saw the crap by the road, maybe they'd think twice about holding onto it until they found a garbage can.


Liv said...

People can be so disgusting like that. You wonder how hard it would be for them to hang on until the next garbage can, or to put a garbage bag in their cars. Really. Everyone relies far too heavily on those poor overworked, underappreciated gnomes.

Running Jayhawk said...

Oh geez. You said Shamrock Shake.


but i agree with liv...people can be so gross. It's amazing what I've seen along the lake front running path (let's just say a used contraceptive isn't a rarity some mornings). double ew.