Friday, July 05, 2013

taking out the trash

A frequent commenter (who has been unusually quiet lately) occasionally criticizes me for writing as if everything in the United States is awful, while everything in Mexico is great.

I always find comments of that nature a bit surprising.  The United States are not perfect.  Nor is Mexico.  And I think I say that here frequently.

Let me give you an example about Mexico. 

Garbage.  It is high on my list of things that annoy me.  All the way from simple littering to serious dumping.

You know how much I enjoy the mirador at he west end of Melaque.  I have shared several posts of the view (unwanted poems; sunday on the rocks; wet shooting).

If you had been with me while I was shooting the photographs in that last link from my favorite cliff-side perch, you would have noticed the very distinct smell of death in the air.  As if a water buffalo has wandered into the jungle and died.

And if you have simply turned around, this is what would have greeted you.

A small avalanches of fish skeletons with rotting flesh.  Along with plastic trays and soda bottles.

The mirador is not alone.  Any area with an accessible road and some privacy from peering eyes (because even the people who do the dumping know it is an offense to the community -- even though it is the tragedy of the commons in full operation) will accumulate min-dumps like this.

When I took my drive into the country on the Indiana Jones road, I came to a dip where the road had almost been washed out from both edges.  And sitting in the middle of the dip were two garbage bags. 

I have listened to the usual excuses from people who go overboard to dismiss any hint of criticism about Mexico.  The excuses usually fall into the patronizing category.  "They are poor."  "It is their culture."  "There are lots of countries with worse trash problems."

But none of those make any sense.  The garbage service in our little fishing village is impeccable.  I put out my garbage several days a week and it is gone within the day. 

The trucks are rather seedy.  But they do what needs to be done.  And the guys who pick up the garbage look as if they enjoy doing what they do.

My usual response to people who raise complaints is: "So, what are you going to do about it?"  And I do not have an answer to that question.

When I go for walks in the village, I take along a garbage bag and pick up litter along the way.  But that is not the big problem.  The big problem is the number of impromptu dumps in scenic areas.

Maybe I simply need to do what my neighbors do when they go to the mirador.  Ignore the smell -- and enjoy the scenery.

After all, isn't that what life is about?  Finding the joy amongst the existential anguish.

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