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Get Off My Lawn
Short Story Day 162 of 365
For as long as Adam had been walking the same path was the number of days he wished a community group would adopt this part of the road and police the area of all the accumulating trash.
When he realized the most obvious solution, he stopped in his tracks: “Pick it up yourself, Adam!”
So, the next day, he grabbed a small plastic grocery bag and began picking up bottles, cans, plastics, and other items he found near the sidewalk path he walked on.
Along the way, he found nails, screws, and broken road markers on the road itself. To pick up the nails and other pointy debris on the road required him to take a step or two out onto it. If he didn’t, he knew the tires on his car would find the nails sooner or later since he traveled the road regularly.
Adam knew of three public trash cans on the way home, equidistant to each other. His small bags were always full as he approached each trash can. Plastic water bottles and crushed beer cans made up 70% of the content for each bag.
As Adam was developing the routine, he couldn’t believe the utter messiness of this community, his community.
As the neighborhood’s newest walking trash collector, Adam had two unwritten, unspoken rules. The first was not to go more than five feet out of his way to pick something up so he could maintain his forward momentum towards home. The exception was if he saw something dangerous on the road, then he was obliged to go out of his way to pick it up.
Later on today’s walk, when he veered off course to pick up a water bottle on a lawn, a man opened his screen door and yelled, “Hey you! What are you doing on my la… oh, never mind.”
Adam dropped the plastic bottle on the ground and walked on, not looking back.
He was exercising unspoken, unwritten rule Number Two: any complaints from anybody and he reverses his actions immediately. Adam really never thought he’d need to use that rule.
At present, though, he had no intention of changing that rule, but tomorrow’s tomorrow and anything could happen.
Today, he just wasn’t in the mood to have to explain his good intentions. As long as there were no signs indicating freshly planted seeds or sprayed chemicals, he felt he was doing the homeowner a good service, a favor even.
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