Last Friday it rained like mad here in Los Angeles. It's the first significant rainfall we've had in about a year. But like that great Albert Hammond 70's song "It never rains in California, girl, don't they warn ya, it pours, man it pours." It's wicked when it does because it a f*ing deluge all day. I went for a walk on the beach while it was raining and the crap pouring out of the storm drains onto the beach was heartbreaking and stomach turning. When I got home I had an email from my friend Susan who was wondering if I wanted to grab a garbage bag and do some beach-y clean up. I was in.
After a rain they say it's not safe to go in the water for about three days. After seeing what I saw on Saturday I'd say three years. Kerri and I met Susan at the beach at about 11am. We were dressed in homemade haz-mat suits. It was not attractive. Once again, Kerri and I go out looking like leaping lesbians. See pictures.
Susan got to the beach first. She was envisioning large piles of trash on the sand and was a little disappointed when there weren't any. She learned from a lifeguard that the city basically rakes up all the trash with a sand Zamboni after a rain. But they don't get everything, especially right by the storm drains where most of the trash accumulates. Susan got in her car and drove down to the Pico storm drain. Still not seeing the mountains of trash she was hoping for, she went to One Life for some chocolate.
In the meantime, Kerri and I started walking toward Pico on the shoreline. It wasn't as bad as it had been the day of the rain but there was still plenty to pick up. We quickly filled a trash bag. Which was not easy because the wind was blowing like mad and we had rubber gloves on. Trying to untwist the garbage bag with garbage in your hands was time consuming and frustrating. Kerri was better at it than me.
We were about halfway to Pico when Susan rejoined the task force. The closer we got to Pico the nastier it got. Tons of crap. We finally reached the outskirts of the storm drain and it seemed like endless amounts of trash. We focused on picking up the bigger stuff because you could spend all day hovering over the same small seaweed/styrofoam peanut pile trying to clear it out. A quick rundown of what we found:
ABOUT A DOZEN TENNIS BALLS
CANDY WRAPPERS (One for something called "Peanutopolis." It's wrapper was suspiciously similar to a Snickers Bar. Upon further investigation I have found out that Peanutopolis and Nougatocity are the new campaign slogans for Snickers. I told Kerri I thought it might be that because a Snickers bar has so many peanuts living in it it could be it's own peanut city. But Snickers claims it's a "state-of-mind making you feel very powerful and strong, almost mayor-like." I like my definition better.)
BIRTH CONTROL PILL CONTAINERS
KIDS SAND CASTLE TOYS
FLIP FLOPS (We left those for the homeless, although we should have put them on Susan who was barefoot. I hope to God I'm not posting about her raging staph infection in a few weeks.)
TIN TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS
STYROFOAM TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS
STYROFOAM PEANUTS (The lifeguard told Susan styrofoam was a good thing to pick-up because it just floats along forever.)
ASSLOADS OF PLASTIC BOTTLES
TAMPON APPLICATORS (Please, ladies, if you need an applicator go cardboard. it's so gross.)
PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS
The list goes on and on. The bonus to all this? It was excellent exercise. Walking in the wind and crouching every 2 feet or so is a better work-out than you think. My friend Lesli thinks I should start and Garbage-a-cize class. If I could make that work anywhere it'd be here in LA.