Thursday, August 7, 2008

Who smokes in their bathing suit, anyway?

We brought the little one to his very first beach last week. He of course loved it. At first he thought the beach was for eating, then seemed a little dubious about having sand poured on his legs. Then he figured out the beach was for crawling on. And off he went. Which is when I noticed the 12-pack's worth of cigarette butts jammed into the sand all around us. Also the empty soda bottles. And otherwise unidentifiable bits of plastic. And the little one noticed all of that too! What a smart kid. I resorted to chasing down the garbage before he could get to it, then throwing it further away from him. Then he'd crawl right toward it and I'd have to do it all over again. I'm just going to hope that the germs on all that crap were baked out by the sun.

Why not just throw it all out, you ask? Fair question. We were all the way down the beach, near the water, and it would have been tough to maneuver. Also, the real reason: I hate throwing out other people's trash. Hate it. Never do it. I don't want to be that guy: the one self-righteous enough to tsk-tskingly clean up after other people's messes. (The same person who cleans out the office microwave or dumps out the old coffee grinds after everyone else conveniently forgets to do it.) Who expects thanks for it, or at least respect, but never gets it because no one likes being reminded of their moral inferiority. And touching trash is icky.

I have a really, really hard time believing the town (Point Pleasant, if you're wondering) doesn't have sanitation people go through in the morning to neaten up the sand a little. Though granted that wouldn't do much if people are continuously using the sand as their own personal ashtray throughout the day. Which brings me to my real point ...

Stupid bennies. I say this as a former South Jerseyan. People come in from out of town, and I don't know, I guess they figure it's just Jersey anyway and already trashed (I make no excuses for the Turnpike, but take an exit once in a while and see what the rest of the state looks like, bub), so they can make idiots of themselves and leave their crap everywhere and clog up the roads on their merry way out of town. Really, you need to tell people not to stub out their cancer sticks in the sand where kids are playing? This needs to be specifically spelled out in writing somewhere? ("Dear bennies, remember not to poison the kids. Thank you.")

It's almost enough to make me nostalgic for the beach in winter -- when there's nobody else on it.

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