Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Litterin' Low Life

The Sam Merrill Trail gets a lot of weekend trash. So does the west end of the Gabrielino Trail, north of JPL. These spots also get a lot of graffiti, especially on the lower reaches. The preponderance of litter and graffiti on the low paths is because getting up high on the mountain requires effort and agility, and these are activities of the lazy.

Here's a sampling of what Boz and I found on a short walk Sunday from the west end of Altadena Drive to the ranger station, a 30 minute walk if you're not in a hurry. As you can see, our litterers are athletic (Gatorade), watch their weight (light beer), care about their skin (Neutrogena lotion) and occasionally indulge in candy. I notice one wrapper got out of my little arrangement. Perhaps litterers like to follow their Bliss.

The litterers might disagree with my low opinion of them. Obviously, they have a high opinion of themselves. But I'm right and they're wrong. They're lazy, slothful and stupid. How do I know this? Slothful: self-evident. Lazy: I found a good deal of this trash within about thirty feet of a garbage can. Stupid: See the cigar wrapper in that pile? And I didn't even pick up the cigarette butts. CIGARETTE BUTTS. WHAT ARE PEOPLE THINKING? (At first I thought, oh gee, maybe it was the coyotes, but wait, no, coyotes are too smart to smoke cigarettes in the middle of a forest full of dry tinder, which is more than I can say for some people.)

There's no sense complaining to you, you don't litter. You don't paint meaningless code words on rocks where only lizards can read them. Yet I want to vilify these trash-dropping mofos. Do they decorate their homes in early twenty-first century Garbage Dump? (Yes.) I'd like to scream and swear at the halfwits who think their spray-painted gangspeak--the secret language of morons--actually enhances a rock or a bridge or even so much as a pile of dung.

But I also call myself a writer and writers are supposed to be inventive with language. Supposedly we don't need to swear to express ourselves (though The Seven Words come in handy).

Let's see what we can do. Today I invite you to invent incendiary invective in the comments. Rail! Accuse! Vituperate! Tell the litterers how big a pile of offal you'd like to force them to sort, by hand, at gunpoint. Let the taggers in on your plans for their edification in a federal facility. Or perhaps you'd have them clean, under the hot sun, with a toothbrush, every inch of wall they've ever defaced. See how vicious you can be--without using The Seven Words. In fact, if you use one (or a variation of one) I'll delete your comment. But anything else goes. And I do mean anything.

And while you're at it: tell the Station Fire arsonist what painful punishment you have in mind for him (or her?). Heated words are welcome, my friends. Go ahead and get mad. But please: no swearing.

37 comments:

Becky said...

I've always considered taggers self-absorbed degenerates who have precisely zero consideration for other people and their environment. It requires no imagination and serves only to announce "I was here... with a can of spray paint." Graffiti destroys the peacefulness of otherwise lovely places.

Litterers always seem the type who think their mother is still following them around and cleaning up after them. That is, wholly immature. Throwing something on the ground is the equivalent of saying "Here. You throw this away for me. I can't be bothered."

And the Station arsonist. Well, it's just chilling to think someone did that on purpose. I think he or she or they should have to help rebuild every house that was destroyed and look all of those families in their eyes. And I think someone should destroy his or her stuff. All of it. Especially the sentimental bits that can't be replaced.

Anonymous said...

It's not exactly venemous, but everytime my 4 year old sees litter, gum stuck on the pavement, you name it - she comments about how the trash on the ground makes our world so ugly. And she wants to know why someone would deliberately throw trash on the ground when it has the effect of making her world so ugly.

That's ugliness in the world of a 4 year old...then there's "ugliness" she has no idea of, like the the arson that burned the mountains out our front window. How do you explain that kind of ugly-world-making to a 4 year old?

Shell Sherree said...

Petrea, there's a lyrical poeticism to your rant. And of course you're right and they're wrong, no matter how fit they are or how smooth their skin is. I'm very, very disappointed by such scumbag acts and I fervently hope that what goes around, comes around. :( Sorry, I'm lousy at ranting.

Ted Thompson said...

I can think of a certain character's powers that might serve you well if you encounter any of these miscreants...

Desmond Morris created and interesting wrok entitled "The Naked Ape" which among other things compared humans to other primates. There are many human behaviors for which there are analogs in the "monkey world".

People are an interesting dichodomy - on the one hand animal and on the other intellectual. And, as with any shared space, each with a different degree of control and dominance.

I think for these "taggers" and even the litter bugs the needle sits well into the animal range.

They trash and tag like some animals can't help but pee on everything in sight "this is mine, and this is mine, and this is mine, and this is mine..."

They are animals, and should be treated as such. (And, sorry if I offend, not the PETA way either...)

Susan C said...

Yes, I consider litterers the lowest of the low.

I wish we could find the perps and throw the trash into their own front yards. But I guess that would be stooping to their own low level.

If I catch someone in the act, I innocently confront them, "Um, sir, did you know that you accidentally dropped your Snickers wrapper?" They always pick it up.

Petrea said...

Excellent. I hope to get flooded with comments today. I'm out for blood.

"Self-absorbed degenerates," Becky, I like that. Let's make the arsonist watch us burn his stuff, one item at a time.

Anonymous, it's hard enough for me to deal with (as you see). I can only imagine how it is for a child. It sounds like you're doing a good job. Becky's remark makes me think of mothers and fathers whom I don't wish to blame, but who perhaps didn't teach their children responsibility.

Maybe you're too sweet to rant, Shell, but I think you did fine.

Oh Ted, you've given me an image of these snotty little gangsters sitting under a lovely old bridge on the trail, spray-painting gang slogans, scratching their armpits, picking nits off each others' heads and making monkey noises.

Good one, Susan. John has been known to chase cars down the street with fast food bags to shove back into their windows, but I don't have the nerve. I could do yours, though.

J+P said...

Such a civilized group of commentors …

Litterers are shitenoggined gobs who ought to live a week in Dumpsters for every half-ounce of crap they drop.

Graffitti vandals should be forced to lick their work from the face of granite cliffs, the wrackless cracksmellers!

And the arsonist(s) … words fail me. Scabrous puerility. Motherflicking bassboinking crotchgobbling turds! Chinless infants! ROAST IN YOUR HANDIWORK, FATHOLES!

Desiree said...

Mad men go down market

Petrea said...

Now you're talkin', J!

Desiree, speechless with anger I see.

altadenahiker said...

Petrea won't let me play. She done locked up all ma werds.

Petrea said...

I know you better than that. You're one of the most inventive writers I know.

Lori Lynn said...

Litterers, Taggers, and Arsonists:

YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

LL

Pascal Jim said...

Be on the lookout for my bumper sticker...

"DEATH TO LITTERBUGS"

(that also includes arsonists)

J+P said...

Is that where those stickers come from? I saw one in the gutter yesterday. Someone pulled it off a trash truck and …

Margaret said...

This is too sad. I think I'm going to go look at Shell's bling some more.

J+P said...

WABSTABBIN' BINGKNOCKING PACK OF CHUCKUPLY BLOBS!!


Jeez. Don't get me started.

Cindy said...

Oh, your post has PERFECT timing! (Wish I had a chance to comment earlier today though!) Lemme tell you about the La Canada miscreants I encountered last week.

Last Thursday I was in La Canada (i.e. city closest to the start of the Station fire) in the parking lot of Trader Joe's. There were some teens who were clearly on their lunch break - maybe this was their first year with off-campus privelages? 5 kids in a VERY expensive car next to us. They are in their car, and literally DUMP all their trash out the windows as they eat their lunch. So I pick up the driver's Starbuck's cup on the ground, hold it up to the window, and say 'Is this yours'? They say "no" with a giggle, so I go throw it away. (I said "Uh-huh" and a harrumpf.) They called me a name and sped off.

To make matters worse - When we first got there, they were out of the car smoking, and we found all their half-smoked still-lit cigarette butts on the ground. I know it's a parking lot, but GEEZ, your city just went head-to-head with a FIRE!

I think dropping cigarettes on the ground should come with a HEFTY fine in LA county. Seriously.

*phew* That's better! Thanks for the catharsis!!

Mister Earl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister Earl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia said...

WEll you just set me off on my favorite rant of all times......... graffiti ( oh I know the new polite term "taggers") and litterers of course. I 've always been a rather hysterical about the damn spray can painters in my hometown. They are littering PRIVATE PROPERTY and I despise it. Then I take myself across the pond to Paris, the city of dearly love. What do I find? The same thing, everywhere. They even have graffiti removal companies there, that's how horrific it is. When does it stop? I don't find it a way for "artists to express themselves". HELL NO , it's urban littering. Let's call a spade a spade. When I finally hauled myself to the dome of the Sacre Coeur, guess what we found? Words scratched all over that beautiful, sacred place. I give up.

And litterers, well these a place for you all in the big landfill in the sky!

Pardon, Petre for this. I couldn't help myself.
V

Mister Earl said...

A litterer, a butt-tossing cigarette smoker, my two neighbors who deliberately and knowingly create a safety hazard, and an arsonist walk into the office of a talent agent. "We have a new act we'd like you to take a look at." "Sure," said the agent. So they met at an empty theater so the agent could witness their act. The litterer and smoker come out on stage and proceed to remove their clothes. The agent can hardly contain his laughter at the miniature equipment they reveal. They proceed to bend over. Then out come my two neighbors who don't care about other peoples' safety, and proceed to remove their clothes and then commence to perpetrate unspeakable acts upon the litterer and the butt tosser. Next, the arsonist arrives on stage and proceeds to ________ into a bucket filled with lighter fluid. He then ties up the litterer, the smoker, and my two selfish neighbors into a bundle consisting of four naked men with their backs to each other all tied together. The agent is still shocked at the paucity of the working parts revealed thereby. The arsonist proceeds to pour the liquid from the bucket around the tied up litterer, smoker, and selfish neighbors. He then proceeds to light the liquid creating a ring of fire around the four tied up exhibits of human scum. Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire begins to play on the theater sound system. The tied-up human cow pies begin to try to jump and dance around because of the heat surrounding them. At this point, the arsonist becomes very excited, removes his clothes and jumps into the ring of fire. As the music ends, a large quantity of that red fire retardant that the airplanes drop is released from above the stage, covering the five excuses for humanity from head to toe with red stuff consisting of 85% water, 10% fertilizer (ammonia phosphate and sulfate ions), and 5% minor ingredients (iron oxide for color, clay or bentonite). The five bottom feeders, now exhausted, burned, sweaty, naked (did I mention the inadequacy of their endowments?) and wet collapse into a disgusting heap at center stage.

"That's pretty funny," said the agent, "What do you call yourselves?"

The arsonist, exhausted and naked, struggles to raise up his torso out of the disgusting red muck on stage and manages to respond, "The Aristocrats."

(WV (honest to God) is "react.")

Cafe Pasadena said...

P, you the good girl are the last person I wood expect this kinda blog post!!

You've become almost a young Christless Harridan! I can only surmise it's bcuz you've been visiting some of the crazy loco blog's too much.

Tell me you used a ghost writer on this.

Petrea said...

Cindy, I'm so glad the timing was cathartic for you! It is for me. Thanks for sharing.

I know, Virginia. Sometimes on Paris Daily Photo people talk about graffiti as art, but apparently I'm just out of it when it comes to appreciating that kind of art. Graffiti on the dome of Sacre Coeur, mon dieu.

Earl, that is vile. And well within the rules, so it stands. I'm sorry you have horrible neighbors. We're so luck on our block. Did you get it out of your system? Probably not if you have to see those people every day.

You've been over at the Hiker's, CO.

L Barlow, AIA said...

Well, these troglodytes have no concept of self-respect or civility so how can you expect them to restrain their urge to poop on everything? Spawn of urban dystopia. As well as the corporations that manufacture all this garbage/aerosol out of oil products and disclaim all responsibility for recycling it.

Individuals, social networks, corporate networks, lack of schooling and discipline. Goes back to the cave days where the troglodytes came from (where we've exhumed ancient archaeological trash piles). We haven't evolved.

Petrea said...

Brilliant. I daresay you've evolved, L. Barlow.

Greg Sweet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Sweet said...

Blogger Greg Sweet said...

One word does come to mind. It is a word that sends shivers up the spines of us mountain folk. That word is "flatlander"

Cafe Pasadena said...

GS, probably not as much as flatliner.

People, please visit Greg's new blog - it's super, he's on fire!

J+P said...

GGGGGGGGHHHHHLLLLLGHHGHGHHHH—!!!

Mister Earl said...

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent, Petrea. You definitely said, "Go for blood." The deal with my neighbors (who are not immediate neighbors) is not that I have to see them every day, but that I have to see and deal with the results of their selfishness multiple times a day. There's still hope that I can get the authorities to intervene, but so far they seem reluctant to.

Trish said...

well said everyone.

gosh J---I think you've used most of my favorite printable words here! ;-)

anyone who has ever seen the destruction a fire can do usually has the same reaction to butts being tossed out a window (lit ones, not the bare ones I daresay). But most of the people who are willing to toss butts out the window have never enjoyed the beauty that nature has provided.

We used to have kids tagging trees near us. Little trees, big trees, posts and such. I always wished I could catch them in the act and say "Just go pee on something instead, would you? It's the same animalistic behaviour and does less damage to the earth!". But alas, they were to ashamed to show their faces in the sunlight.

Mister Earl---make a photo and/or video montage for the authorities of your neighbors. Indisputable visual evidence (thank you NFL referees and rules) makes prosecution and/or enforcement a lot easier.

wv: pasheou...probably what the no-good litterers and arsonists would say to our rants---to them I would say get the frick off the planet I love!

Petrea said...

It looks like J+P wants to flatline the flatlander (it has to be a flatlander, don't you think?) who would deface the mountains.

Wait. I'm a flatlander. I mean, I live in the flatlands. I hike in the mountains, though. What does that make me, a wannabe?

Don't be too tough on the flatlanders, Greg. The more people get up into the hills and explore, the more they learn, the less ignorant they'll be, and ignorance is the enemy of us all.

Mr. Earl, you're most welcome. I asked for blood and you freely gave. I wonder if Trish's suggestion would work? I know it worked for me to have photos in an erroneous parking ticket situation, so maybe it's worth a try.

Trish said...

flatlanders is a term used by hill folk all around. Derogatory indeed. But it is more an attitude than a location. Complete disrespect for the mountain and inhabitants therein.

I wouldn't necessarily consider you a mountain gal, but never a flatlander. You respect the outdoors too much to ever be called a flatlander.

My only disagreement is with the wide statement that exposing folks to the outdoors makes them respect it. I've seen in the last 30 or so years a requirement to open the areas to more people to enjoy---but not necessarily a corresponding respect from newcomers to the outdoors. If it is too easy, they treat it like a park (ala trash you saw). But fewer people in the backcountry leave their cr@p behind like that. Some do, yes, but most pack it out.

Quandry for me---people should have access and learn, but what I see is the access and not the learning.

As to the arsonist(s), I'd like to stand there and shove all the ashes from this fire down their throat(s)...all how many thousands of acres of ashes? Right down their throats. Choke 'em, that'd be fine with me. I doubt any amount of retribution or restitution will teach them not to burn.

Mister Earl said...

Trish and Petrea: The first photos were given to the city in early 2008. I've been very patient with the city for a long time. The city, for whatever reason, has not followed through, at peril to its own liability. My next attempts will be far more blunt. The lack of action on something that should be a slam dunk has astounded me.

Petrea said...

Yikes, Earl, this sounds major. I am so intrigued.

goodeda1122 said...

男女,潤滑液,
SM,情趣內衣,內衣,性感內衣,角色扮演,角色扮演服,吊帶襪,丁字褲,情趣用品,情趣用品,飛機杯,自慰套

自慰套,自慰器,情趣,自慰套,情趣,視訊交友,充氣娃娃,性感丁字褲,AV,按摩棒,電動按摩棒,情趣按摩棒,

按摩棒,變頻跳蛋,跳蛋,無線跳蛋,G點,

Petrea said...

Speaking of the low life...