Friday, July 15, 2005

Your July 14 cover story, Trash Daze, was particularly timely and compelling. I truly feel for the woman who has to use a shovel to scoop the trash off her street, and wish I had hope that situation would change. Unfortunately, this IS Philadelphia, the dirtiest city in Pennsylvania, the nation's dirtiest state.

I live in southwest and ride my bike to my job in Kensington. Every week, I end up with at least one flat tire, usually two, because too many Philadelphians simply don't seem to understand the concept of putting garbage into a garbage can. The streets are littered with broken glass, cast off food, plastic bottles, and pretty much every category of debris and detritus. I see people drop garbage out of their cars every single day.

Over the course of my 34 years, I have spent extensive time in older northeastern and mid-Atlantic cities: Boston; New York; New Haven; Washington DC, and visited several others around the country. None of them are as dirty and have as little civic pride as Philadelphia.

Recently on tour, our band made a stop in Boston. Our drummer, a Philadelphia native who had never been to the Hub before, remarked upon how clean Boston was compared to his hometown. "It's like Philly except they actually give a damn about how the place looks," were his words.

Examples of Philadelphians' nonchalance about shitting where they eat are myriad, from poor neighborhoods to wealthier areas like the Art Museum, from the El to the trolleys.
But try doing anything about it: last summer my girlfriend was referred to was a "fucking white bitch" for daring to hand a guy at a stop sign the bottle of Snapple'd he'd casually dropped out the window not a moment before. It is as if civic pride is turned upside down here. Instead of "what can I do to make my city look nice," the prevailing attitude seems to be "Who cares what you think". She's probably lucky the guy didn't shoot her: if the past year is any indication, we treat each other just as badly as we treat our neighborhoods.

And it doesn't stop with the people. Just last week, while riding my bike behind a garbage truck in West Philly, I actually saw the driver throw his McDonald's leftovers out the window onto the street. The city runs a recycling program that boasts the hilarious motto "And we do it right!" No, Curby Bucket, you don't do it right. Every other city I've lived in picks up the recycling every week, not every other week; takes plastics; and takes corrugated cardboard. And most of those cities offer 5 cents for aluminum cans, something that this state does not.

It is frustrating enough to see the people who live in Philly treat the city like like an open dump, but it is infuriating when it begins to cost you money. Which brings me back to my bike. Thanks to the jerk-offs who throw glass in the street I got a flat tire, and had to spend $20.00 on a taxi to get home. Thanks a lot, you fucking slobs.


Post a Comment

<< Home