By the third snowfall of the season, the love affair with winter was starting to wane. I had made the first big chili, a slow-cooker roast and had gone through the packets of gourmet hot chocolate. There was nothing left to do but wait for the temps to rise above 50 and bear witness to the eager folks in the Cherokee Triangle rip off all unnecessary clothing and go running, biking and dog walking in the traditional ritual of forcing spring to arrive. And getting sick.
So, yes. Boredom was setting in.
I peered from my north-facing windows to see the white branches and rooftops across the street that morning. It’s a lovely sight–falling flakes in the street lamp lit up the pre-dawn darkness. The bells from St. James seemed louder as their clang was muffled by the fresh blanket of snow.
After applying the warmth of coffee and a scarf, I headed out to my vehicle with my $1.99 combo brush and scraper to clear the windows and head to work. The skiff of fluffy snow fell away, only to reveal a hazy windshield beneath. Huh? I scraped and it did not budge.
Got in, turned the key and switched on the defrost and wipers. Only the driver’s side of the windshield was cloudy. I could barely see through it but decided to forge ahead. I only had to go a few blocks past Grinstead so I took Cherokee Road because my Explorer knows the way.
Probably not a wise motoring decision but I was able to piece it all together by leaning far to the right to get the clear view and occasionally peering through the strange muck in front of me. My wipers groaned as they dragged across that part of the window so I finally just turned them off.
I hoped it wasn’t some bizarre crack into the innermost part of my windshield causing it to fog and not being able to reach it. Damn! I could not see 100 yards ahead of me but I was envisioning an expensive trip to a body shop.
I returned from my errands later that afternoon and decided to look into it. I retrieved the purple bandana that I’d tied to my radio antenna to support the GLBT community during the fall, scooped up some snow and proceeded to scrub my window. An emulsion appeared as the cloud began to loosen. I threw more snow on the glass and swirled the bandana until it was almost…brown. Hmmm. Slowly and surely, a fragrance arose from the windshield. Familiar and not unpleasant.
The activist purple of my bandana was now a milky chocolate brown. Since the temperature was in the single digits that day, I couldn’t sit there and bask in this Quincy-like olfactory investigation. With my window sludgy yet slowly clearing up, my work there was done. I crunched around to the sidewalk to retrieve my groceries and head up to my apartment when I noticed a piece of litter. An empty Dairy Queen cup–a Blizzard–lay on the easement.
We’ve been having some littering problems in the past couple of months, not sure if it’s from Bardstown Road or Cherokee Park traffic but somebody’s been coming home or visiting friends with plenty of beer or soft drink cans and fast food trash to discard on Edgeland.
I love my street and would like to think that our neighbors would not be the culprits but I can’t imagine that someone would be so dissatisfied with their Blizzard or my vehicle to toss at least half the contents of a large cup onto my window. It had to be around midnight or after hours, so I’m assuming it was the exotic “Midnight Truffle.” Don’t sue me if it was “Brownie Batter.” The cup was soggy and ragged by the time I hurled it into my own garbage can.
Had it been a Happy Meal, or unhappy, I guess, I would’ve been clued in by a pickle or smear of Heinz. But that morning it was a frozen glaze of chocolate, cream and chemicals. Whatever it is that goes into a Blizzard. Then again, it was a most appropriate drink to toss in a month where the ground has been covered with snow for the most part.
So, people—finish your junk food and your cheap beer and find a place to deposit the containers. Or whatever you refuse to finish. Littering just blows my mind and should not be an act that is carried out by anyone over two years old who doesn’t know better. I was a kid when the Lady Bird Johnson anti-litter campaign picked up the cry (and a lot of trash), resulting in the commercial spot we all called “the crying Indian.” As a member of Cherokee Nation, I can get behind this.
Many years later, I was a commentator on WFPL and my first essay on the air was entitled “The Sprite Can,” and it lives on in Louisville litter history. The can was tossed from a truck at Grinstead and Bardstown and I was waiting for a TARC with a young woman who was bold enough to pick it up and toss it back into the redneck’s vehicle. All hell broke loose but the can remained in the bed of his truck. It was my first encounter with a trash activist.
If you have regular littering in your neighborhood, is there a way to request a Metro Louisville waste basket? Would that be Brightside? Let me know before I have to power wash a smoothie from my bumper.