Sunday, May 6, 2007

There is Symbolism in here Somewhere

Yesterday I awakened so enthusiastically that looking back on the event, even I, a morning person, feel a bit grossed out. It was green-up day--- a statewide campaign to pick up after ourselves, and I was ready to go.

The idea makes a lot of sense. All winter long there is enough snow to, for the most part, hide our littery ways, and certainly enough to thwart all but the most devoted cleaner-up-ers. By may (thankfully) there isn’t snow left to hide the 5 or so months of trash, so some spring cleaning is in order. Compared to la cite d’ou je viens, hey compared to most places in the US, there isn’t much trash. That just makes the idea even cooler. Besides, it is an excuse to wander aimlessly, and possibly befriend some neighbors while chipping away at one’s liberal-white person guilt complex. To resist such an opportunity takes more discipline than I have, or so I thought.

I bounced over to the town clerk’s office for an area assignment, and a bright green trash bag. But wait, the parking lot was empty, the building locked. There was no clerk to be found. Not to be deterred, I scurried home “someone will be there by 9 am,” I thought, as I plunged into a personal green-up day, which consisted of vacuuming the living room. 9 rolled around and things looked more promising. There was a cluster of cleaners collecting cans in the cemetery, and girls gathering garbage on the green, but no town clerk. Foiled again. As a token sign of participation I picked up a scrap of neon orange flagging on the way home.

My intent was to get a regular old garbage bag and join the fun. Then it occurred to me: my 8 gallon white kitchen bag would stick out amongst the green-up bags as much as I would in group of neighbors who’d known each other for years. Shyness, an uncharacteristic emotion, overcame me. So instead of greening-up I played the stereotypical American and hopped in the car to go buy stuff. The irony made me smile.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

right after all the happy enthusiastic little kiddies here in ridge-land picked up trash on green-up day, one staff member caught 2 kids hucking glass bottles down a ledge in the woods. granted, i wouldn't so much name that "ironic" as "really fucking annoying," but it still seemed worth mentioning.

also, one of my own little kiddies informed us fascists (the term of endearment he uses for all staff members)that green-up day was really a vermont hippie excuse to smoke pot. apparently (and perhaps i'm lame for not knowing this) a green day is a day spent smoking pot - a fact, by the way, i confirmed by looking it up in the urban dictionary.

FYI - another fun vocab word i found in the urban dictionary (it was the word-of-the-day): butterfaith - "A girl who is fun, intelligent, beautiful, perfect in every way... except she's devoutly religious"