Seems we have in our midst someone who’s taking pleasure in spitting their chewed gum on the sidewalks of our town. Yes, as you go hither and yon beware, we have a serial gum dropper.
It’s not out of the ordinary to say hello to someone when you see that person at our post office. Then, since ours is a quaint little berg, you go about your business and run into that same person at the next stop going down the street which could be one of two gas stations, then the bank, then the grocery store, then if need be, the hardware store, maybe the other gas station and finally the parts store. That about covers it. Laughingly I have said to the person I meet at each stop, where are you going next? Life in small town USA has a lot going for it. But now, now we need to pull together and find the culprit that’s gumming up the works.
As I got out of my car, after doing the nearly required U-turn at the corner and sliding up to the curb within the outlandish length of nearly 50 feet to the door of the post office (really, it’s a small town), I parked and got out to dash in and grab my bills and what seems to be the never ending array of you need these unneeded items catalogs from my mailbox. When I stepped up on the sidewalk I nearly stepped on a big ole wad of previously chewed purple gum. Yuck! Luckily, I sidestepped it. But as I took a few more steps I noticed another big ole wad of white gum about two feet away. In looking around, I saw four other globs of chewed masses.
The last time I stepped in gum was in a parking lot of a large store in Twin Falls, Idaho. A store with a huge red and white circle on the front. It was a hot day, a muggy day, and it was green gum that had laid in the lot for more than a few minutes as it was gooey. As I lifted my foot the gum was all stringy. Grumble, grumble. There I was, literally stuck in the parking lot. Without water, napkins or a stick to scrape it off my shoe. So I did as anyone else I suppose does, I drug my shoe on the ground. Looking a bit like Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, dragging my foot I could have been saying to Boris Karloff, “Yes master, I’m coming I just have to get this gum off my shoe.” Over and over again, I scooted my shoe until the stickiness was replaced with a hot patch of tar from the parking lot. Finding my car after shopping was easy — I just followed the green slime line. Gum belongs in your mouth!
Now I tell you that because gum stepping happens. It has happed before and it will happen again. I don’t live in a bubble, I live in Nevada and I know about bars and all-nighters and there are things on the sidewalks we walk on every day that are best not analyzed. There are some sticky sidewalks in our little town, but just the regular sticky. Until now. Now we have this unknown gum dropper. A ruthless entity who has developed this habit of chew, chew, chew — spit. The spit out glob, I might add, was a mere 10, maybe 12 feet away from the nearest trash container. Several are set out up and down Main Street. Trash cans that are user friendly. They are maintained and emptied by our wonderful county crew. Trash containers that are used by those of us who have some couth.
Those of us who remember when litter became a big problem in the USA and the slogan to get it under control was “Every Litter Bit Hurts.” And when you saw someone litter you could holler at that person, “Ouch!” It hurts our Mother Earth to throw trash down on her. So to the gum dropper, I say, “Ouch!”
So, to end. Guess what happened this afternoon when I got home? I walked into my house, depositing my purse and a bag of stuff I was carrying on the kitchen counter and stood there to catch my breath — as I walked away my right shoe stuck to the floor, just a bit, just enough to make that ripping sound as whatever was on the bottom of my shoe gave way. Gum? Grumble grumble. Nope, it seems I had picked up a wad of caulking that had fallen off the eve of our house and carried it inside on the bottom of my shoe. So now you know — sticky stuff happens.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Send your thoughts and comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.