By Al Zimmerman
With retirement, I am on the road a lot. I do things I want to do, and I see things I want to see.
Rather than listening to the never ending ads on commercial radio and the far left talk shows on NPR, I spend most of my time looking at the scenery and thinking.
My favorite things to ponder while driving are the future of Halifax County and what can be done to insure our relevancy in an ever changing world. Yesterday, I had a break through. I was thinking, “what are we really good at, what makes us stand out above all others, what can we promote?"
Then it hit me. It was right in front of me all along -- littering. We are better at doing it, and not picking it up, than anywhere I have been in all my travels. We are so good at it, we have elevated it to an art form.
That's right, it's performance art! Rather than trying to discourage littering, we should proudly exhibit it as an example of the spontaneous creativity and hard work of a thoughtful and generous citizenry so willing to share their art (trash) with everyone.
Our love and appreciation of it, obvious from the gargantuan quantities on display throughout the county, could be showcased by the industrial development authority (IDA) on a driving tour with prospective clients, sure to impress.
The Prizery could organize competitions among county communities for monthly awards, and the Historical Society should document, for posterity, particularly outstanding examples before Virginia Department of Transportation destroys them.
In reality, there is no need to worry about VDOT destroying art. Our good citizens do not hesitate to use a clean roadside as a fresh canvas to create anew.
If we do this right, Amazon would certainly locate here and not look back at NYC.
Why worry about school accreditation, racial tension, fewer graduates going to college and an old school building when we can show off our roadside trash art instead.
Litter must be a good thing or else why would we love (or tolerate) it so.
To me, seeing all the litter along our roads is so depressing I have to make fun of it for relief. Litter is there because of us -- those who do it, those who tolerate it.
It reflects and defines us whether we like it or not. Maybe, it is part of a larger issue, the fundamental change going on in our society and culture where the un-caring and non-productive seem to dictate the world we live in.
I do not know, maybe I am making too much of it.
I offer no overall solution to the problem, but I want to try and make a difference on my road. This is an idea VDOT did not care for several years ago, but I am going to try it anyway.
I will donate $1,000 a year to any legitimate charitable organization that will volunteer to clean up the first mile and a quarter of Old Cluster Springs Road (704) four times a year (seasonally). The organization would have to coordinate with VDOT, but the money would come directly from me. The organization would receive a good donation while doing something positive for the community, and I would have a nicer road. It would be a win for everyone.
I really hope some organization will take me up on this offer. I know the idea will not scale up for the whole community, but maybe it will help my road.
I know this too, if we do not clean up the mess of others, they win.
Have we given up?
Al Zimmerman is a resident of South Boston.