Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tell a Story of a Future that's Void

I used the clerical error in our Sunday weather (ordered: December winter; delivered: February thaw) to walk across Norwich in a semi-serious inventory inspection. Walking down Washington Street, through downtown past the Mercantile Exchange and Howard Brown Park, near the courthouse, over by the Wauregan Hotel, alongside the Otis Library and the former YMCA and up the hill past St Joseph's School, I was bewildered by yellow plastic bags strewn every place. There were many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of them.

My first thought was, over the holidays, we'd been carpet-bombed by a telephone company since the yellow bags had phone directories in them. I feared they must each weigh a ton or more because it was obvious they hadn't moved from where they had landed. Sunday was a zero gravity day (thank you Kurt Vonnegut!) so I could pick up the bags easily and pitch them from sidewalks and walkways in front of houses and businesses onto porches and front lawns.

For the owner of the very agitated German Shepherd the size of a horse near Cliff Place, sorry for irritating your dog-though I think just breathing was enough to get him started. I'm kidding a little (not about the dog). Obviously, we had gravity on Sunday. For whatever reason(s) no one felt any reason to pick up debris on the sidewalks and streets where we live. And I don't mean to beat up the phone book folks.

How come we can carry a full Styrofoam coffee cup or a cold drink container but the moment it's empty, it's too heavy to hold and ends up as litter? Happens everyday and someone has to be doing it. It's just not you or me, right? Nope, not us. I have a fantasy that only those old enough to have watched a man walk on the moon can have: just beyond the range of the camera at the Sea of Tranquility is an empty cooler and all around it are empty bags of chips and beer cans. Because that's how we are as a species.

Maybe we are why we can't have nice things. And maybe we should remember what Mom said about picking up after ourselves, while we still have ourselves to pick up after.
Waste not, want not.
-bill kenny

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