Monday, August 17, 2009

A Load Of Rubbish

Street rubbishJust over a week ago I had the misfortune of being called out in the early hours of Sunday morning to attend a fire alarm activation at my place of work. I didn’t get away again until 7 am.

Seeing the windy streets of Leamington Spa at this time in the morning as I wended my way home was something of a revelation.

Or rather like something out of Revelations.

I don’t think I have ever seen so much rubbish and stomach lining spread over so much surface area of one town before.

It looked like someone had disemboweled a rubbish cart at 15,000ft and let the contents fall to earth in a 10 mile radius.

It was horrendous. Chip paper. Newspaper. Polystyrene burger cartons. Styrofoam cups. Half chewed chips and chicken nuggets. Shredded lettuce. The ubiquitous McDonalds paper bag. The entire gherkin crop of Bulgaria. All of it knee-deep.

I swear I saw pigeons re-enacting the trash compactor scene from Star Wars.

Worst of all though was the vomit.

We are talking vast, half congealed porridgy oceans of the stuff.

And it was multicoloured.

My worst encounter was under the seat of the bus shelter right outside the Parish Church. It was pink with red bits in it, flecked with the odd strangulated shard of green. Someone had either thrown up a chicken tikka or had crawled home minus their entire stomach and the taste of their lower intestines dissolving on their tongue like a rubbery alka seltzer.

If this is the morning after the night before I’m glad I no longer frequent pubs or go out drinking as a social pastime.

What disgusting selfish creatures we are.

All this waste. All this mess. And it probably happens every Thursday / Friday / Saturday night of every week of every year in most towns across the Western world.

Here are major contributions towards global warming for you. Here are carbon footprints that smell as bad as they look.

As I picked my way home through the detritus the litter pickers and street cleaners were already hard at work picking, sifting, lifting and hoovering up the evidence of a single night’s pleasure seeking.

I felt sorry for them. Sorry that such thankless work is plainly necessary.

Oh I know it gives them a job. A friend of mine once threw litter quite deliberately onto the street and justified it by saying "it gave someone a job and allowed them to earn a living”.

Well, as I said at the time, such a stupid argument could also be used to justify rape, child abuse and murder but I’m sure the police and the support workers and the attendant counsellors would all rather be doing something else if they could ever express a choice about it.

Forget dubious employment opportunities, what this billowing carnage said to me was the majority of our species just don’t have any true thought or respect for their own environment or the people they share it with. That maybe too many of us justify appalling behaviour and antisocial activity under the guise of “just having a laugh” and “just having a drink after a hard week at work”.

That maybe going out and getting yourself absolutely twatted on a Saturday night is not so much an innocent way to let off steam and de-stress but a way of proclaiming to the world that you really just don’t give a toss about anyone or anything that exists outside your own little sphere of beer-goggled selfishness.

What a load of utter garbage.

Our street cleaners are unsung heroes.

We’d all be dead or dying of cholera, typhoid and bubonic plague by now if not for their sterling efforts.

Gentleman and ladies of the broom, I salute you.


28 comments:

Tenon_Saw said...

If you had had a camera you could have taken a photo and sent it to your MP. The content of your post has struck a chord and - had I time - I'd write one about current events and news. This society we live in has disgusting aspects.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: as is always the case, the things you see when you haven't got a camera. I was truly appalled. I had no idea that my home town was reduced to such a state while I slept. Some members of society are plainly no better than pigs.

A Write Blog said...

It's always been thus.

It's a form of cocking a snook at the conformity od society. Ok it's an unintelligent way of doing it but that is what, in essence, much of it is.

The spitting, dropping litter, vomiting, pissing in the street is the fool's way of saying, 'Look at me. I'm making my mark'.

Most is done by the young and most grow out of it.

I did and cringe at some of what I used to do when young and foolish. I may not have spat or dropped litter but I vomited and pissed where I shouldn't.

I dread to think what I would have been like if I'd had more money and that is where the issue lies; youngsters with more money than they can usefully handle.

Steve said...

AWB: plainly I never drunk enough or just didn't have the money to do so!

I no this has always gone on to a lesser or greater extent but what I saw that Sunday morning was completely excessive. It was like Leamington had held a humungous music festival on its streets or something.

Hey, maybe it did and I was just so out of touch I missed it? ;-)

Valerie said...

Steve, I agree with your about the state of our streets but I honestly thought L.Spa was above the norm. It always seems so respectable. Just shows how one can be deceived. Tenon Saw is right, a photograph to the local MP might prompt some action.

Steve said...

Valerie: just goes to show that Leamington's spotless facade is maintained by a hard working team who rarely get any credit! Next time I'm knocking about at that time in the morning I shall be sure to take a camera with me... though I expect the response will be that the street cleaners have it all under control so the situation is fine...

EmmaK said...

It is amazing what they do in really wealthy places like Vienna. I stay with my mum in the center of Vienna and look out the window at night at hundreds of youths every saturday night vomiting and throwing trash all over the place. By 4 am a special cleaning van has washed the street clean and someone picks the fag butts out from between the cobble stones. In the morning you have no idea that such debauchery has occurred. Amazing.

Steve said...

Emma: well that puts a different complexion onto things. If it's good enough for Vienna it's good enough for Leamington Spa!

Valerie said...

the street cleaners have it all under control so the situation is fine...
Typical fob-off. I wrote to council about double yellow lines not being long enough (starting and ending right on top of traffic lights)and was told legal permission to extend them was too expensive. Just waiting for the accident that will change things.

Steve said...

Valerie: speaking as a council worker, I can well vouch for the veracity of your anecdote. Things never change until after the worse that can happen has happened...

Valerie said...

Ooo Steve, care to move to Brum - you could be very useful :-O

English Rider said...

There are families where a Father will express pride that his son came home drunk and threw up for the first time. A right of passage, so to speak. This is then, of course, self-perpetuating generation to generation. Some people should not be allowed to reproduce!

The Sagittarian said...

That sounds terrible Steve, and I wish I could say things are different here but they're not. I know we try and peddle ourselves off as Clean and Green but the reality is sickening! We live next door to a park, the council decided to do away with rubbish bins (and having to collect them presumably) to "encourage" park users to take their rubbish home. All the park users seem to do is throw their rubbish over our fence. I'm considering collecting it all and donating it to our mayor by post!
I guess most of us do what we can to reduce our impact on the environment, but honestly sometimes we appear to be a minority. One of the few minority's without rights eh?

Steve said...

Valerie: thanks for the invitation but I think the twice daily commute would grind me down - much as I love visiting Brum for shopping!

English Rider: or at the very least there should be some sort of emotional / intellectual means test before people are allowed to add to the gene pool. It might be an effective way to cap population growth.

Amanda: that sounds horrendous. I must admit I'd hate to live next to a park or a school. It must be a nightmare... made worse by the fact that if not for people it would actually be a joy. Definitely post things to the mayor. You'll get a reaction I'm sure. ;-)

The Sagittarian said...

I call our Mayor "Sideshow Bob", he is a recyled TV personality if you can imagine such a being! Our council need to be shot with balls of their own spit frankly, increasing rates and rents for the underprivileged...however, off my soap box and into the wine box..:-0

Steve said...

Amanda: I suppose the only thing worse than Sideshow Bob is Homer Simpson himself. Unfortunately our PM is doing a fine job of imitating him at the moment!

And balls of their own spit? Surely balls of lead would be more effective?

The Dotterel said...

You're so right about the 'mobile cleansing operatives' (as they call them here). But... I seem to have got completely the wrong impression about Leamington Spa. Those blue-rinse ladies must be real ravers!

Steve said...

Dotterel: you wouldn't want to be trapped in a dark alley by one, I can tell you that!

Tessa said...

I zipped over from The Sagitterian's lovely blog and read your excellently written post in appalled fascination. I've spent almost all my life in the so-called 3rd World and have never encountered anything approaching this kind of deliberate carnage. And I say 'deliberate' advisedly because as far as I can see that is exactly what it is...these youngsters go out and intentionally get rat-faced drunk. Is to assuage boredom, I wonder?

Steve said...

Tessa: lovely to see you here - do hope you'll return. I think in the most part it is just boredom - and that's the tragedy. Boredom is no excuse at all; it's really rather pathetic. I'm sure a minority drink to excess to blot out appalling lives but the most are just hooray types or lager louts who think getting rat-arsed is commendable and a proof of coolness. I prefer to see it as the cynical sedation of the proles... it's why alchohol will never be banned or policed in the same way that hard drugs are.

Inchy said...

I don't know if you've ever been out in Cardiff, but the clean-up operation that swings into action there every Friday and Saturday night around 3am is worth a night out on its own.

After the young ladies and gentlemen have left 'Kebab Alley' a huge team of flourescent council workers (probably shipped in from Vienna), two deep, form a line across the main road, no more than two or three feet apart. They literally shovel the layer of chips, pitta bread, pizza and assorted bodily fluids that has accrued straight into the maws of refuse trucks that follow close behind. They in turn deposit a layer of disinfectant behind them leaving everything ship shape and Bristol fashion (I have no idea what that means) for the next day.

None of this is an excuse for the dirty bastards dropping all their shite in the first place when there are large bins every ten metres or so.

Oh no, I'm turning into my dad!

Steve said...

Inchy: wow. That makes Leamington sound cleaner than the carpets at Buckingham Palace. Maybe us Leamingtonians are pretty well behaved after all though I suspect it's all just a matter of degree...

French Fancy said...

I'm so unused to dirty streets these days it probably would have looked far worse to me. Where I live if people see some paper that someone has thoughtlessly strewn on the pavement, then they pick it up and put it in the nearest bin. I've done it myself - it's catching.

So send all these litter louts to the Breton countyside - we'll brainwash them

Steve said...

FF: forget the litter louts - they can drown in their own filth for all I care. Instead I shall move to Breton and live a life being responsible with my litter.

Suburbia said...

Ewww! Graphic writing in the extreme!!

Well said tho'

Steve said...

Suburbia: I like to get down and dirty with my subjects...

;-)

KayDee said...

I must admit to a sometimes misspent youth (hangs head in shame) but I never ever trashed or defiled anywhere. I was always a polite, well behaved drunk if that counts for anything.

I sometimes go to the football where the crowds are typically around 40,000. You should see what gets left behind once everyone has left and yet there are bins everywhere.

You're right. People can be real pigs and big bouquets for the poor sods whose job it is to clean up after them. I hope they are well paid.

Steve said...

KayDee: polite, well behaved drunks are the ambrosia of any society. Take my word for it.

As for these guy's pay cheques... I doubt they may an appalling job at all worthwhile but they might, if they're lucky, pay the bills.