“Don’t Mess With Texas?”

Posted: March 29, 2010 in The Roper Files
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 “Don’t Mess With Texas” is a slogan someone came up with years and years ago to combat our litter problem; just thought I’d snap a few pics and show you just how well it really works.

I enter this freeway ramp every day after work on my way home. At first glance there is nothing too shocking; a creek flows in between the ramps to I-35 and 820.The grass appears to be mowed once in a while and it looks as if they are planting some more trees. If you don’t look too close it appears almost pastoral. (That’s northbound I-35 in the background)

But as I entered the ramp a couple of weeks ago I was utterly appalled at the amount of visible trash and garbage I could see as I entered the ramp at a reduced speed and took a good look. Made a mental note to come here on a Sunday morning when there was less traffic and check it out on foot and up close. Two Sundays rolled by but I could never talk myself into driving anywhere near my job on my day off.

 Today I went to work and spent half the day standing around with my thumb up my ass; they had nothing for me to do. It was slow at quitting time last week; this was not exactly a shock. Spent half the morning moving stuff around, sweeping under it and then moving the stuff back; anything to look busy. After a few hours of this near-boot camp drudgery I couldn’t take it anymore. So I took a half day of vacation and bolted out the back door right before lunch. The sun was out and it was just too nice a day to be cooped in that dark stinky building anyway. As I drove home I remembered I just happened to have my camera and tripod with me, so I decided Why Not Today? Finding a safe place to pull over and park was kind of a trick; this was near an on-ramp but I found a place and got out. (click photos to enlarge)


As I hiked closer I realized that No my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me; this area was little more than a well-camouflaged landfill. The closer I got to the creek, the more appalled I became. Every tree limb and branch seemed to be decorated with shredded plastic shopping bags. Stumbled over broken wooden pallets as well as the uneven terrain. Finally I got to the creek.

Knee-high piles of glass and plastic bottles lined the creek. Liquor bottles. 40-ounce beer and malt liquor bottles. Soft drink and water bottles. Oh there was lots and lots of other miscellaneous trash of all types but the vast piles I saw running as far as I could see down the creek consisted mainly of plastic and glass bottles. Snapped a couple of pictures and stomped back to my truck in disgust.

 Usually when I start writing the beginning is easy, I peck a little slower towards the middle and then ending is almost always the hardest part. This familiar pattern seems to be repeating itself this afternoon. Right now I just want to scream at you people. If you’re too goddam lazy to recycle, is finding a trash can or a dumpster THAT much more difficult than just tossing your trash out the car window?

When I went to Canada last summer I was so impressed with how neat and clean it was. One of the first things I saw when I came back to Texas was some asshole driving by me and tossing a plastic water bottle out the window of his little red sports-car. I wanted to throw a rock at him. That putz might say “Oh, it’s only one bottle…”

Trust me on this one; they add up…..


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