Have you ever stepped on someone's discarded gum on the sidewalk? Pretty yucky, ain't it, especially on a hot day.
Adhesive tapes have the same effect on sidewalks as gum -- just ask the Danville maintenance personnel who were charged with removing tape residue after the Fourth of July parade. Now that the infamous chair policy is enforced -- meaning no chairs can be left out until 6 p.m. July 3 -- some folks mark their spots with tape. Which might be fine except whereas they usually remove their chairs, they just leave the tape in place for others to deal with. And apparently it doesn't come off the sidewalks as easily as it went on. Verrrry unfair to our cleanup crews.
Speaking of cleanup, was anyone else disturbed by the tons of garbage left by parade-goers? People bring or buy food and drinks to enjoy the parade with family and friends, which is great. There are also lots of giveaways. But apparently they forget to bring along a bag to gather their litter to bring home for disposal.
Remember the old movie theater rules? The modus operandi was to eat and drop, and to let theater personnel clean up after you. At least that leaves a mess in the dark. The post-parade mess was in the bright July sunlight for all to see and be appalled by. I don't see any yards in the San Ramon Valley with trash in them, so what's with dropping garbage on our public streets? Aren't they an extension of our back yards?
It didn't take long for the street cleaners to hit Hartz Avenue after the parade. No sooner had the old fellows in red shirts shot off their rifles to formally end the festivities than the volunteers were telling people to move on, and the big street sweepers came a-sweeping the debris into their vacuum. Not quite conducive to sticking around to enjoy downtown, perhaps, but given the vast amount of garbage, perhaps it was best.
Another thing about garbage: How does all of that litter get to the sides of the freeway? Are people really such slobs? I love the program that has companies adopting stretches of highway to keep clean and it's nice to see the bulging orange bags on I-680 waiting to be picked up. If it's ever done by a retail outlet I make it a point to patronize them. (Except I think I'll skip the tattoo parlor.) But before cleanups it's not so nice - with plastic bags and other ugly stuff dotting the lovely landscaping. What's with these individuals?
I might be inclined to think that roadside litter is left by people from other parts of the Bay Area and beyond, who are just passing through. But given the mess left in Danville after the Fourth of July parade, I know that local folks can litter with the best/worst of them.
The fine for littering in California can be $100 to $1,000 for a first-time offender plus a possible eight hours of litter removal. Love it! Cleaning up roadside trash for eight hours would certainly raise one's consciousness about the problem if you're too out of it to normally be offended by the sight of litter. Although I rarely see anyone throw litter from their car and, I'm sure, no one does so without checking for law enforcement. Contra Costa County said that from January 2009 to June 30, 2010, only three reports have been made on litterers. I knew they'd be hard to catch!
But back to the parade. Thousands of volunteer hours go into making this Kiwanis event a success. The best way to show our gratitude is to not get antsy about where we're going to sit -- and to clean up after ourselves when the parade ends. And if you don't: May you step in someone's discarded gum on a hot day in July.