I did a double take yesterday afternoon while sitting on a freeway onramp in North Long Beach. The upward slope along the side of the onramp as it climbed toward the freeway was long and ugly. The plants populating the slope were mostly dried out dead weeds. The weeds were decorated with trash of every description. I was thinking about the trash and could not come up with a reason why there was so much of it. It’s pervasive. Every onramp is the same. Trash festoons everything. I tend to project my own habits onto other people. I don’t litter so I expect the same from other people. I go out of my way to throw my trash away properly. It’s a habit reinforced by a wife who gives me a look if I even think about chucking an applecore out the window. So where does it all come from? All you need to do is look down when waiting to enter a freeway. The stuff piled up in the gutters is amazing.
As I neared the end of the onramp, I noticed a coke bottle. I was instantly taken back 30 years to a time before plastic bottles. I can remember when the humble coke bottle littered every conceivable public and private space. There used to be broken glass everywhere. I don’t think I’ve seen a discarded coke bottle since the early 80s. The world changed again and I did not notice. How odd.