Monday, August 10, 2009


Several months ago, I was told that if I thoughtfully listen to my “inner voice,” it will give me direction in my life. So I began to listen. Very carefully.

I heard nothing.

I listened harder, but I still heard nothing.

Given my multiple talents and expensive Ivy League college education, I fully expected my inner voice would say something profound: “Bring peace to the world!” “Save the children!” “Solve the economic crisis!” “Spread the Gospel!”

But when I finally heard my tiny inner voice, I realized that it was telling me to pick up garbage.

It’s true. Every day, when I go out for a two- to four-mile walk, I pass discarded pop cans, beer bottles, fast food wrappers, shopping flyers, and empty cigarette packs lying in the street gutters or in the grass along the walking path. Most of the time, I don’t even need to bring a bag from home to collect it in because I also regularly walk past plastic grocery bags, either blowing in the wind or caught on tree branches.

The inner voice very firmly says, “Pick up the plastic grocery bag and fill it with litter.” So I do—soft drink cups, plastic lids, straws, candy wrappers, cellophane, empty firecracker cartridges, cardboard, aluminum siding, pink insulation and cardboard blown from a nearby construction site.

I have started picking up everything I see along my two- to four-mile routes. On Saturday, I found hot pink lace underwear in the middle of Seventh Avenue. Someone had a much more exciting Friday night than I did. Since it wasn’t my size, I just threw it in the bag with the rest of the trash.

If I pass a garbage can along the trail or in a park, I dump my bulging sack. ‘There,’ I think, ‘done!’ But then I’ll see another plastic grocery bag snagged on a bush, and I have to start my litter pick up again.

This Morning's Finds

That inner voice keeps nagging, “Pick up the garbage.” So I do.

Someone else’s inner voice will have to tell them to save the whales or stop global warming. For whatever reason, I was just assigned one of the humble jobs.


Elaine said...

Yes! You have found your calling! I hope you wear disposable gloves when you are picking up that s--t.

Greg said...

I think that is a very noble thing to do! Do you recycle the cans and bottles? If so, then your inner voice has helped you make some walking around money. Get it? "Walking around money". I guess I think it's clever. I do agree with Elaine, some gloves might be good too.

2to4aday said...

I had thought about hand protection--but was afraid if I walked around wearing disposable latex gloves, people might expect me to do emergency surgery on the walking trails. Actually, I think picking up the litter bare-handed is helping build up my immune system--my own daily booster shot. (See if I'm this confident when one of those empty Mt. Dew bottles gives me the N1-H1 flu.)