Picking Up Trash

Every time I walk to school to pick up my kids, I have to cross a busy intersection. Every time, I pick up trash: cans, cigarette packs, water bottles. I pick up all the trash that I can carry and my kids carry more. And then we do it again… we pick up, we clean up, we keep walking.

What kind of person would throw a bottle out of their car window, my kids ask. I say, what matters is that you are the kind of person who cleans up because it looks nice and it feels better not to walk through trash. These are small conversations about big questions. “What kind of person would terrorize another” is too big of a conversation. “What kind of person would spill filth of hate on a resting place of a grandparent” is too painful. “What kind of person would watch with glee a people relive the savagery of past traumas” is more than I can bear.

So we walk, kicking stones and chatting, picking up… here a sticky coca-cola bottle with lipstick on the rim, a water bottle with tobacco chew, an empty pack of Newports.  Cheerfully, we talk about our day.

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