The Hostile Local
ďWhat are they thinking!?Ē I silently scream as I bend over and pick up yet another beer can-soda can-fast food wrapper, whatever. In my anger I only I think Iím screaming it silently, but since Iím alone, walking along the road along the South Fork of the Salmon as it snakes along the river canyon, and I can hear a voice, I must really be screaming this, out loud... and, if the truth be told, with a much higher degree of profanity than can readily be written in a publication of this stature.
Iíve spent a lot of time on these river roads. Iíve driven an ambulance; school buses full of kids; vans with recreational clients; my own rigs full of a growing family. After twenty five years and almost a half a million miles of professional driving, Iíve tried to stay out of a vehicle whenever possible. Iíve always been a bicycle rider and Iíve covered most of the riverís roads and trails, to and from meetings and jobs, on one bike or another. I used to run the riverís roads on LSD... long slow distance. The knees made me cool that mode of transportation. Iíve been known to put on the wrist braces, knee guards and helmet, and roller blade everything from Cecilville to Somes Bar. Heck since were talking about litter, Iíve spent a far amount of time kayaking the local river runs. Not many folks can say that they drove the kayak work.
The bottom line? Iím usually going much slower than passing vehicles and therefore get to observe more minutely the indigenous flora and fauna of the area. One question, please. Since when did a freakiní beer can or soda can, or food wrapper become indigenous?
As you might be able to tell, Iíve got this thing about people who can come back here to the Rivers and throw trash out of their car/truck windows. Itís like they think this is just another what? City? Slum?
This one might stay for awhile. I just donít get it.
Iíve tried to put wrap my head around the logic that might accompany someone who would throw that ______, fill in the blank. I canít even begin to understand.
Now the casual visitor might travel our remote roads and because it feels so like the ends of the known earth after a couple of miles he or she might think , ďWhat the hell, thereís no one around here. Itís so big out that window at too-many-miles-per-hour, one little thing! So big a place! No one will notice.
Like I said too-many-miles-per-hour surround by all that Detroit steel (more likely Japanese these days), so out the window it goes. Roll it up quick, or youíll loose the air conditioning. It canít be good for the soul. Itís sure not for the environment.
As the casual visitor drives further he might think he/she sees local households that appear to hold the old truck in some reverence. So many locals seem to have junkyards of varying sizes in their yards. Perhaps this misinterpretation leads them to think that the few crazies that do live on these rivers wonít even notice.
Wrong! First, we do see, we do care! Secondly, as if it were anyoneís business, much like the Indians of the plains prized their ponies, locals can point out a history lesson in every rusting hulk. Not to mention the parts repository value of each yard sculpture. Just a local version of the suburban, front yard Pink Flamingo. Kate George used to get pretty P-Oíd if anyone asked her about the ďjunkyardĒ next to her house. Sheíd straighten up and look you deep in the eye, and real steady sheíd say, ďThatís a museum out there.Ē
If cars and trucks were transparent, like Wonder Womanís airplane, then youíd see what the average local does with his/her trash and other questionable items. We throw it on the floor of their rigs. And mostly you let it build up a little, till you suspect something might be incubating in the pile around your feet, then you head to the garbage truck on one of the weekly garbage days and pay a couple of bucks to have it hauled out of here.
Ya know, itís not just the litter of modern ďcivilizationĒ that lays along the river (work crews seem to be the main culprit on this one). Look around you as you drive through. Do you see an abundance of orange trees? Or banana plantations? Then what the heck makes you think that tossing the peels from the orange or that of the banana, out the window into the passing landscape is an intelligent thing to do? An apple core now and then, well, okay.
Which river user is the worst litterer?
This is where the kayaking all these years comes in. Itís fishermen, hands down. Cans, food wrappers, bait containers, new lure wrappings, huge snaggles of fishing line, broken rods, all at the riverís edge. If it can be left, a fisherman, apparently, will leave it.
Pretty broad-stroke indictment, you say?
Hey, Iím a Local! Iím tired of being pushed into someone elseís frame of reference!
Makes me Hostile.
(Mac Creek is another of somewhat infamous "Creek Brothers".)