I took a stroll out on my favorite path yesterday. In an effort to keep myself fit (and sane) I try and walk four miles per day. Lately, I’ve settled on a path that runs around the whole of Tucson. It’s called The Loop. Mainly it is a bicycle path but it’s also for pedestrians. It has the advantage of being away from vehicular traffic. It is well maintained and I particularly like the fact that it has trash cans located along the path. Yesterday, I took my normal four mile walk…or I thought I’d take my normal walk along my favorite path when I found a bathroom Dixie cup rolling around on the trail. Then there was another, then another. I had to duck through a fence to fetch the errant cups. Some of the refuse had blown into the wash. Recently, my walks along my favorite path have involved very little trash. I carry a folded plastic bag in my cargo shorts that I normally don’t have to employ but that day it was obvious that the bag was needed. As I ducked and snatched the ever increasing items of litter along the way, I noticed that one of them had a tag. It said, “Take Me, You Found Free Art -Keep It – Pass it on -Leave it here.” There was an email attached: email@example.com . Also a note said “This is a piece of found art – A gift for you. Please let us know where you found it by writing to:” then there was the email address. I collected all the crap along the trail and it filled a very large plastic bag. Some of the refuse had another email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I wrote them a note telling them that encouraging littering was a very bad idea and that I’d be returning their “art” to the Mesquite Elementary School. The response I received was very unapologetic. In fact, the note I received was very close to insulting. The proper response should have been an apology and the promise not to do it again. Instead, I got something to the effect that they’d continue to teach their kids to be “kind and giving.”
WOW! Now please understand that I clean the paths around that school daily just because it’s the right thing to do. If there is anyone being kind and generous it is the retired guy that chooses to spend his time helping out the community by picking up litter in his neighborhood. The school teacher that goes by the name of “Daisy” owes me and the community an apology and she needs to stop encouraging her students to litter the pathways in my neighborhood.
Here is how she responded to me after I returned her “abandoned art:”
“Thank you for returning our art, even in the manner that you did. We have learned an important lesson though not the lesson you intended. I will continue to encourage the children to be kind and giving.”
Hey I have an idea, how about you encouraging the children to NOT LITTER?
Enjoyed the post Don! So the Mother of All Bad Ideas is named “Daisy”.
Seems like a failure of communication. When is it litter and when is it art? When is it a flower and when is it a weed? Where it is and the context is what determines it. Why not take your plastic bag and put it in front of the school with a tag ‘This is a collection of found litter. A piece of art may have got mixed up in it. You be the judge.”
David, It’s simple…whatever it is, art or trash, it doesn’t belong on the walking trail. I returned the bag I collected to the school office.
There is often good art on the labels of beer bottles, particularly the craft ones. Still, I wouldn’t put it in the category of “abandoned art.”