We just had our twice yearly neighborhood cleanup today, organized by the Civic Association, where volunteers traverse the streets of Chadds Ford, removing the detritus of modern American civilization (cups and bottles, not homeless people—of whom we apparently have none, perhaps because they are against some zoning ordinance or other). I must say that this event always makes me think that Chadds Ford must be the locus of a gravitational anomaly of some sort. That seems to be the only explanation for the need to have a cleanup. How else to account for the way the full beverage container, bearer of delicious Miller Lite, of refreshing “tea,” of mysterious fluorescent frozen liquid, so easily borne in the lightness of anticipation becomes, upon emptying past parched lips, an immense weight, nay an intolerable burden of such magnitude that the mere act of returning it to its former place of honor on the vehicle floor becomes a Sisyphean task so extreme that the only response can be, and is, to release the newly empty, now apparently massive container into the vastness of the universe, free, spinning and drifting like the untethered astronaut, George Clooney, in Gravity; but unlike George, coming quickly and safely to rest in the welcome harbor of someone’s lawn. What else could explain it? And why did I find an oar?
Anyway, kudos and thanks to all who participated. A genuinely non-partisan event (even litterati were welcome, though if any were in attendance, they were incognito). However, I must say, the Cleanup has clear Democratic overtones (unintended, I’m sure)—you know, people working together for the benefit of all, not just themselves. No one said, “The trash is all on private property, and if the owners don’t mind beer cans in the gutter, that’s their right.” No one said, “We won’t remove trash from the property of anyone who doesn’t participate.” No one said, “You can remove litter from my yard when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.” But nobody would think like that, right?