If you're like us, you probably spend a multitude of hours each year cleaning up what's been left behind by your less thoughtful Trenton neighbors. Glen figures that we clean up enough recyclables around our property every month to fill one whole yellow recycling barrel*. We're always pulling bottles, cans, black plastic bags, junk food wrappers, fast food packaging, and half-eaten slices of pizza out of our shrubbery. Less often, but worth mentioning, we find used condoms, cups of urine, Bic pens-cum-crack pipes, and little tiny Ziploc bags with dollar signs imprinted upon them, as well.
And, believe it or not, this is a decent neighborhood, at least by Trenton standards!**
We've heard that there are neighborhoods where folks find guns and drugs in their hedges, and we haven't, luckily, hit that low. But, what we've found is that no matter how socially unacceptable the item tossed into the shrubs is, someone, in some capacity, will take it away, if you pull it out of your bushes.
Unless you are unlucky enough to find one of these:
Well, I should back up. Animal Control will take these if you find them in your hedges, but considering that the Trenton Animal Shelter is already overburdened with furry creatures who might be put down simply because they blink at someone funny, I think it's very bad karma to send them away in that manner. So, I figure I have all of my limbs and most of my faculties, and a fairly large network of friends, acquaintances, and co-workers at my fingertips, and can therefore find someone who will take these away when I find them in the shrubs.
Or so I thought. Despite the fact that this particular creature pictured here, a kitten, who later become known as Platooski (for one of Glen's hockey buddies with a similar surname, but with more consonants and at least another syllable), is about as handsome as any animal could possibly come -- and has rare coloring with a hoity-toity name, "Blue and white," according to my vet -- only one person offered to take him. And that person, ultimately, proved to be somewhat of a lunatic, and we felt it was in Platooski's best interest for him to not wind up as some science experiment somewhere in Pennsylvania.
It took about a year, but he eventually became this:
Yes. He's kind of a prick.
But he's also pretty funny too, and as he gets older, he has become SO lazy that we often wonder -- with fear -- if he is even still alive.
For example, I came up the stairs earlier, and through the railing, discovered this:
I had to poke him to make sure he was okay. He lifted his head and gave me the stink eye, but despite his (temporary, I hope) hatred for me, followed me into the office, where he fell asleep like this on the futon:
So, I just wanted to say "See, it's not THAT bad," when you find a cat in the shrubs. If you find one in your shrubs, or the next time I find one in my shrubs, as long as you're not running a lab in your basement, why not give cat ownership a try?
*I'm not entirely sure of his methodology, because we go through our fair share of bottles and cans, but I do notice that he puts out more than one whole yellow recycling bucket on every recycling opportunity (he usually fills an empty plastic cat litter container with the overflow bottles and cans). Recycling is every other week here in Mercer County, and is not often enough for us -- a family of only two who cleans up for about 1,000 littering neighbors every month. For what we pay in taxes and what we clean-up, we'd like to have more frequent recycling pick-up. We're JCLs, but everywhere else we lived, we had weekly recycling. Hm.
** Don't you hate the phrase, "by Trenton standards?" I do. But I must use it, because if we could suspend reality for a moment and place my neighborhood in any other municipality in the state, save for Camden, Salem, Paterson, or Newark, it would be considered run-down, edgy. However, it is so obviously full of potential, with the beautiful homes, and stately trees, that I know if this neighborhood were in some other municipality, except for the ones listed above, the municipality would do what it takes to help the residents turn it around. It wouldn't take much effort at all.
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