Monday, January 6, 2014

Litter Lament

One of the downsides of living in the desert is that some people seem to think it is a public dump.  One day my husband and I were driving home, waiting for an oncoming car to pass so that we could turn left onto our street, and some woman in the passenger seat of the other car rolled down her window and threw a loaded drink out the window onto the side of the road, it's contents splattering everywhere.  My husband's reaction was to lean on the horn and shake his fist at her.  I think I yelled something like, "This is my home!  People live here, you idiot!"

This weekend our family drove down the road to go out to lunch and a movie, only to pass a fresh pile of litter that someone obviously threw out their car window to the side of the road in front of the elementary school.  All four of us saw the pile of trash at the same time and exclaimed disgust.  The next day the trash was still there, so I asked my daughter to remind me to take a garbage bag with me on my next walk.

I did my good deed for the day on Sunday, filling a big black plastic garbage bag with as much trash as I could pick up in front of the elementary school, so that when the kids returned from their winter break the next day, they wouldn't have to wade through it.  The problem was that the trash went on for as far as I could see and the one bag I had was so heavy that I didn't know if I could carry it home to put into my trash can.  My back hurt from repeatedly bending over, so next time I will take a claw on a stick.

The fresh trash pile turned out to be a gift set of Jim Beam alcohol samples, and all the bottles were empty alongside several packets of cigarettes.  Just what every elementary school student needs to see on their first day of a new semester.  Lovely.  People who don't care what they put into their bodies obviously don't care what they put into our environment and our children's minds.

As I staggered home like Santa Claus with a bag over my shoulder hoping to not get stopped by the police and searched (as they would find open containers of liquor), I had to stop a number of times to pick up empty water bottles in the desert.  It astounds me how people will carry a water bottle on their trek as long as it serves them by holding water, but despite an empty bottle weighing next to nothing, they'd just assume throw the empty bottle on the ground than carry it any further.  How selfish is that?  About 90% of this trash showed up over the holidays.  One more reason why I hate holidays.  Some people don't know how to do anything other than something destructive when you give them a little free time.

Midge still can't relax in the evenings, because it seems that the jerk behind us has saved at least one firecracker to fire off each night of the week since New Year's Eve.  He has conditioned my dog to expect bangs and booms once it gets dark outside, so Midge runs in circles panting like she's going to have a heart attack.  I'd kind of like to tie the guy who's been setting them off to a chair and light firecrackers right next to his ear every few minutes and see how long it takes him to go insane.

I wouldn't be surprised if he were the same person who dumped his alcohol and nicotine trash in front of the elementary school.

On a more positive note, something changed radically in the dog barking department.  It's almost as if someone had a chat with the neighbors about the excessive barking, because the past four days have been heavenly.  I can go outside without the back door immediately opening and seven dogs charging out to attack me through the fence.  Better yet, if I go out and the dogs are already running around in their yard, they completely ignore me.  It's weird.  It's like someone took them to dog obedience school and they graduated overnight.  But, even more likely, the dogs were always capable of enjoying their yard and being quiet while doing it, and the dog owners just had a change of heart and decided to stop doing whatever they were doing to encourage the dogs to bark at me.  It's Monday and all is quiet.  I can have my yard and my life back now.


Sam said...

Maybe somebody slipped them a copy of the state law? Tee-hee...

I was going to share this blog with you. She's another local gal who does a lot of riding. She just started up her blog.

lytha said...

I just got done cleaning up 16 bottle rockets out of my field. That's 10 less than last year, but I don't think I've found them all yet.

Cindy D. said...

Having been a desert dweller the majority of my life there is nothing in the world that irritates me more than trash in in my sanctuary.

Water bottles will collapse into a piece of trash 1/4 of the size they were when full and like you said, are nearly weightless.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Christine - Please don't tell me you did that! OMG! That would explain why they were standing on their porch glaring at me. I'm sure they think I did it, since I was watching their dogs chase their horse. Oh well, I guess it's okay to lose some friends in order to gain my peace and quiet.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I never stop being disgusted by the amount of trash people dump in the desert. Both here and in Colorado. It's infuriating.

Things like piles of palm fronds and tree trimmings are unsightly but at least they biodegrade, but the couches, loveseats, tires and metal piss me off.

On a positive note, I did find several piles of old wood near my house that I am going to go get and repurpose into 'barn wood' projects-picture frames, end tables and what-not.

And I will be gathering up a bunch of tires to use as markers on my barrel and pole patterns, so that saves me having to go ask the local tire shops for them. :-)

Sam said...

Actually, no. However, we've stuck enough little laminated cards of that law in mail boxes over the years. It is possible someone shared one with them. We aren't shy. It's our safety and sanity that's threatened and it is one thing that we can do to protect ourselves.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Hmmm. Yeah, something definitely changed. Normally, I would just say that they went back to work, but they have been keeping the dogs quiet even when they are home. Hopefully, this isn't just a fluke. My husband told me that one evening a couple of weeks ago, he heard coyotes howling in our yard and he went out to watch and enjoy them, but our neighbor ruined it by coming out of his house and sicking his dogs on the coyotes, chasing them off. These neighbors were definitely on a roll encouraging their dogs to chase off people and animals, so maybe other neighbors were getting sick of it too.