Sustainable seafood taco I should say, as I look at the subject line above. The good intentions were there to get up early today, and I did briefly wake up at seven, before falling asleep again and then waking up at ten. I guess I needed sleep. Today is Coastal Cleanup Day, and as I don’t have any work right now, I figure I might as well make myself useful where I reside on our blue-green planet. Today is a day when Californians all over the state volunteer to pick up trash on the beaches. Last year over 68,000 people volunteered to pick up trash. Of course one should chide the litterbugs who made this mess to begin with, but thank God, that so many people treasure our beautiful state and it’s beaches and are willing to tidy up.
With an orange bucket containing a pair of gloves hanging on my handlebars, I start heading down the street. A truck pulls to the right of me to turn, and the driver rolls down his window, advising me that carrying the bucket in this manner is dangerous. Perhaps in traffic, but hardly on a deserted street I think. The bucket police strikes again. Smiling, I tell him that life can be dangerous. With dual buckets he may have had a point.
Arriving at the cleanup check-in site, I hand over my signed waiver form. This seems kind of silly to me, since this is volunteer work, but we do live in the age of litigation. The last claw for picking up trash goes to the person ahead of me – oh well, I guess my hands will work too – I chuckle. The check-in person who is also a teacher has been there since 8:30 and tells me she is ready for some lunch. I concur. I however need to earn mine first. To expand some more on the subject line above: I am handed a small business card with the California Coastal Commission logo on it, entitling the bearer of the card to a sustainable seafood taco – courtesy of a restaurant chain. There is a BBQ at noon I am told, before my bucket and I make our way down to the shoreline.
There are lots of kids and a few parents here already with buckets and trash bags. This part of the shore seems very clean, so I walk over some slippery rocks to another section of the shore. Bingo! Several aluminum cans, a horseshoe, many pieces of glass, some plastic. My bucket is delighted. I pass a mom who is taking inventory on a clipboard of the stuff that two of her boys are collecting. A third boy is playing in the sand, oblivious to the world around him. I joke with her that she has the easy job. Coming around the next bend, the rocks are very slippery and the reeds make it difficult to continue. As I bend down to pick up a bottle after this rather perilous endeavor, a woman on her cellphone on the balcony above me barks at me, that this is private property. “Want the bottle back?” Civic engagement seems to be a bit lacking here. I edge my way back to the original shoreline where I find a crab shell minus the interior. I pick up the crab skeleton and give it to the two boys I had met earlier who are just thrilled.
My bucket now half full, I return to the check-in station where my trash in the bucket is weighed. “Six pounds!” the teacher exclaims surprised. “That’s tops for the day”. I ask her if this means that I get to eat six pounds of hamburgers at the BBQ. Sure, sure, she says half-serious. A boy on a bicycle then directs me to a dumpster nearby where I empty my bucket. The dumpster is from the same company that picks up my apartment building’s trash – their trucks being known by my cat as the “blue monsters”, and held in very low esteem on his behalf.
Lemonade, steak sandwiches with BBQ sauce, and a mango-strawberry popsicle are the reward for the participants. Yum. Naptime.