Michael Adamson, Oakland

Quilt Square #4

  1. See a piece of plastic on the sidewalk, reach down to pick it up.
  2. Stop yourself. You don’t know whose waste this is; it might be contaminated with the virus.
  3. Realize that’s not really how community transmission works. Go to the store to buy some gloves anyway, since you can’t be too safe.
  4. Remind yourself that millions of disposable gloves end up in landfills each year and take ages to break down.
  5. Head home to grab your pair of reusable rubber kitchen gloves.
  6. Start huffing and puffing on your way up the hill leading home.
  7. React in horror to the smell of your own breath saturating your face covering.
  8. Throw your face covering into the laundry machine.
  9. Add the rest of your dirty laundry, since you know that doing full loads saves on water.
  10. Brush your teeth.
  11. Hang-dry your clothes to skip the dryer cycle and save on energy.
  12. Return to the sidewalk, now sporting your rubber gloves and clean, still-damp face covering.
  13. Discover that the offending piece of plastic has blown away.
  14. Hunt for more, since you’ve gone through all this effort.

Guide to Responsible Litter Pick-Up in the Age of COVID-19