Monday, February 14, 2011

Community Kind

I had the vague plan to watch Music’s Biggest Night with the kids on Sunday. I was tired. Saturday night was an extra special birthday warm-up for my friend Quinn in Marin. So on Sunday, my greatest expectation was to relax with my girls, who I reunited with after four days, in front of the Grammys.

But those rabble rousers remembered what I had promised them last week: we were going to clean up the neighborhood playground. With plenty of prodding from Daisy, we gathered our supplies. I grabbed the dog, and the girls jumped on their scooters.

When we arrived at the playground, it was filled with hyperactive children, all from the same birthday party. We decided to lay low until the party crew vacated. After they all ran off at once, back to their party, the girls and I suited up. We put on our latex gloves and distributed the bags. Daisy was on recyclables. Violet and I were on trash.

The kids weren’t consistently helpful throughout the process. There were a ton of cigarette butts, and initially, they refused to gather those, because weren’t they “dangerous for kids to touch?” Yes, and hence the gloves . . . did you know that one summer, Middle Uncle and I picked up hundreds and hundreds of cigarette butts in state parks with our bare hands? And we liked it! (And maybe it wasn’t with our bare hands, but we sure as hell weren’t whiners about it, I can tell you that much.)

Once we got going, it was very satisfying to make the play area clean. Violet may have wondered briefly if we were doing it "cause we don’t like to have fun, right?”

Not true. In fact, hello free entertainment on a beautiful evening.

Anyway, you can play when you're done with your good deed.

There was a time-out or two.

But here’s what we removed. (Trash was even bigger than it appears.)

We concluded our good work by throwing the trash into the nearest park receptacle and leaving the bag of recyclables on top for a passing homeless or retired person to grab. Oh and finally, the kids stripped off their latex gloves and tossed them on the ground before running off to play . . . um, guys?

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