Friday, June 28, 2013

Keep it clean

If Boston isn't North America's most historic city, it's probably on the short list.

You can likely make a case for Montreal, New York, and Washington.

That's probably about it.

So it bothers me how little regard many people here seem to have for this interesting, almost-400-year-old cradle of the New World.

People trash this place like they're rats in a dumpster. It's not just ciggy butts, which are obviously disgusting -- but people just flat out throw trash in the streets as if the Garbage Fairies will soon come by and rectify the problem.

How could you?

Just a few days after getting here in November, we decided to sample a classic New England tradition: The Game. Harvard and Yale have been playing football since 1875. That means when the series began, it was closer to Paul Revere, "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" and the siege of Boston in 1776 than it is to the modern matchup.

It was a cool experience, but it was tarred by piles and piles and piles of trash near garbage bins around the stadium. The bins got full, and shame on Harvard for not having crews around to keep emptying them on a day when a big crowd was a certainty.

But more shame on the people who, seeing the trash overflowing, said "Fuck it" and just threw their trash on top of it, around it, or anywhere they damned well wanted to.

I mean... really? This is the pride you have in this amazing city, this amazing institution, this uniquely American tradition and spectacle?

It's heartbreaking. But it also goes back to our modern jerk culture that accepts no individual responsibility, celebrates "getting yours" and hang the next guy or girl. It's vulgar, selfish, small and (literally) trashy.

I'd like to see more social efforts to clean this place up. People up here are real quick to condemn other parts of the country as backward, but having lived in some of those places, I can say with certainty that the "Don't Mess With Texas" mindset has worked more often than not. 

In Texas, people see beautiful wildflowers and colors when spring arrives. Here, after the snow melts, people see Dunkin Donuts cups, Marlboro packages and (alongside Fresh Pond Parkway at least) an almost full plastic container of pickle relish.

At least, that's what it looks like.

Listen, some people are going to suck, no matter what. But does it have to be so many of you? And are you really OK with living in a trash can? This is a beautiful place and an important place. Show a little respect.

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