692 Again, the Magnetic Lawn
The house in Moote Pointe, NY had a "magnetic" lawn that attracted paper litter. The place was strategically located along a route that connected a McDonald's, a Burger King, a Taco Bell, a Hot Dog House, a deli, two pizza joints, a Wendy's, a hot roast beef sandwich joint, a KFC and two ice cream stores. It was just far enough from any of them so that by the time a walking, eating eater got to the house, they were finished with their food and dumped the wrappers, the bags and the cups on the lawn. A local magazine, long defunct, actually paid a few bucks for an article and some pictures. Immortalized in print by being the epicenter of litterbugs.
At least at the time, that's what seemed to be the case. But now, here in Mount Tantamount, PA., a variation on the same theme, and it feels like a mysterious force has followed us. This time it's not fast food wrappers, cups, straws, bags or leftovers. This time it's bottles and cans and newspapers and empty garbage cans.
They pick up the garbage and the recycling on Fridays. The former about 10 AM and the latter about noon or 1 PM. The house is the bottom point of a slope from the left and a slope from the right. Usually, there's no wind to speak of around here. At least, no wind a veteran of decades of hurricanes and nor'easters would consider wind. Except Fridays. Every Friday, it's windy. EVERY Friday.
So no matter which way the wind blows, gravity sends the beer and soda cans, the water bottles, the newspapers flying down the block to what's become the homeless shelter of unwanted garbage. Right here! Sometimes, it's funny. We know about the birth control pills of a recently re-located neighbor. Her pharmacy paperwork landed at the side door. We know what kind of beer the neighbors drink, what kind of cooking oil they use, what kind of hair dye. We know what magazines they subscribe to, what newspapers they read, what detergent goes into their washing machines. It's all right there, every Friday. Along with the empty garbage cans.
The condo association puppet masters have decreed that everyone must put their house numbers on both the bodies and lids of their garbage cans and lids so when they blow away, the can be returned. No one has complied. It's that Central Pennsylvania spirit of independence. Or that Central Pennsylvania spirit of lazy cheapness. And so, every Friday after work, the neighborhood gathers to figure out which garbage can is associated with which house. Often, there are homeless cans. They get placed in a central location and eventually, at least so far, get taken in.
But at some point, every one of them ends up at THIS house, in the small valley formed by the inability of the construction companies to make a level road.
--It's expensive, but you can buy Mexican-made Coca Cola in this country. The good news: it's made with real sugar, not "high fructose." The bad news: It's made with Mexican water.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®