Monday, October 24, 2005

Trash Day

So our church had a community trash pick up day on Saturday and I had some time in the morning, so I went on over to lend a hand. Our neighborhood has no shortage of trash to be picked up, so I figured whatever help I could give would be well received. I wish I spent more time just wandering through the neighborhood, because it's an adventure every time.

I started out with a group of four and we made our way through the streets picking up everything from beer bottles to Wendy's fries and a few losing lotto tickets. The strangest item I found was a tiny booklet about the size of a wallet photo that was entitled "How To Use a Condom." Unfortunately, a few feet from the booklet, I found that it was quite an informative little document and someone had made good use of its contents.

Another interesting thing I saw that morning were a couple of my fellow neighbors. One was a guy in his early thirties who was heading home from a late night out (heading home at 10:00 in the morning) and noticed me with a trash bag. "Doing some community service?" he asked. "Yeah," I answered, because it was a service and this was my community. "What they catch you with this time?" was his response. It's unfortunate that he could only imagine someone doing that kind of work as a punishment for some crime. So I told him I got caught building a meth lab and the two of us went inside and finished off the beer and grass he had from the night before.

The other encounter I had with a true West Indy resident was an older lady who had stepped outside for a morning smoke. This really was amazing. I can't remember what the conversation was, because I quickly became mezmerized by the cigarette she had hanging out of her mouth. I swear it was just an extension of her lip. She was somehow able to talk, laugh, smile and smoke without ever taking the thing out of her mouth. It bobbed up and down with her speech, always on the verge of popping out, but miraculously never left her lips. I swear it really was amazing. The very tip was all that she had hold of, but that thing wasn't going anywhere. You'd have to see it to truly admire what I'm trying to describe. Hopefully you witness it somewhere, because it's a rare treat to see.

Those were the highlights of my community service work, along with a stray dog that I fed dried lunchmeat and chicken broth, and a couple of kids running around barefoot amidst a huge pile of broken boards, glass, TVs, couches and an old dog house. It was a morning that once again made me question what the heck I'm doing here and at the same time made me wish I had the strength and courage to make a difference while I am here. Good ol' West Indianapolis.

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