Here's the Scoop: April 14, 2010

Pick it up
Walking and Stalking Season is now officially open. Before you get the wrong idea, I should clarify, that the “Stalking” I’m referring to is not the fun type that eventually leads to restraining orders and movie-of-the-week subject matter.
No, when my wife and I walk, we tend to “stalk” roadside trash. Early spring is the best time for this sport. After a long winter, it’s incredible how much “game” has collected along roadsides. This vast amount of garbage is very difficult to ignore when you’re strolling right next to the ditches and banks where it easily collects.
I must confess that walking is not my preferred exercise of choice. I do like the fresh air and the workout, but you don’t really get very far. And, unlike biking, there’s no coasting on the downhill side. Walking does serve as a nice bridge between the indoor bike and the outdoor biking season, though.

Keep it clean
As it turns out, our walking regimen is also good for the environment. Another disclaimer here: If my wife didn’t announce at the start of each journey that she was armed with plastic bags, I might tend to walk right past this trash.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate litter as much as the next guy — apparently much more than the folks who create this mess. However, picking up roadside garbage is…what’s the word…disgusting.
As a general rule the garbage has been lying around in the elements for a period of time (defined as between the end of last walking season and the start of the new one). During this juncture, the cans and bottles (the primary litter items) pick up quite a bit of slime — inside and out. Removing these items from the roadside is unpleasant.
In fact, the term “grossly smelly” often springs to mind when I lift a piece of garbage from its hibernating place. Unfortunately, gloves aren’t something I usually consider on a 60-degree sunny day. I should.
The interesting part about picking up this roadside trash is wondering why so many people feel it’s necessary to throw this stuff from their vehicles? A simple explanation for the booze containers is because the tossers are “trashed.” That doesn’t make it good — on any level — but it’s a sound theory.
But what about the folks who throw half-empty bottles of “energy drinks” out the window? I’d like to think that the folks consuming this stuff had a mid-swig revelation that said: “This glowing pink (insert other rainbow color here) beverage can’t possibly be good for me! I need to dedicate my life to cleaning up other people’s roadside trash!” And, off they go, leaving behind their energy drink bottle as a symbol of their mission.
Or maybe the pink stuff simply killed them — and that explains the big, smelly lump we spotted over the nearby bank. Fortunately, I convinced my wife, “We can come back for that one with the car.”