Zachrilege: American Picker

I have a new cause, and that’s finding a cause. I know it’s a bit too meta for most. I never feel like I “give back” to my community in any way, so when I found an opportunity to join an Adopt a Highway group today, I jumped at the chance.

The group hosting today’s highway activities is the Fayette Freethought Society. Advertising yourself as a thinker is a bold move in today’s challenge anything intellectual culture. This group is set up in Peachtree City, Georgia. It’s like the 21st century Mayberry. The key feature to the town are the endless golf cart paths. There is golf cart parking at the grocery store. Those suckers are quiet, so you really can’t hear them coming. One of the volunteers showed a scar from when one ran into him when he was biking.

When golf carts attack? Yeah, it was that kind of landscape. The group was rather small so I got my highlighter yellow vest, a couple of flimsy orange garbage bags and went off with John. The group is responsible for about a mile of highway, both sides of the road, so there were about four groups. I had my yard work clothes: red workout pants, long-sleeved cotton shirt, work gloves, trusty white Titans cap that about 10% of Georgians recognize, sunscreen and bug spray.

One thing I noticed about the roadside was that it was pretty clean. The group does this every three months so they must clean up, so to speak. As a wannabee novelist, the items I found were worthy of a few short stories. For the most part I found cans, discarded lunch containers and a few hundred cigarette butts. I also found a slip of paper with a man’s phone number written on it and an Alabama driver’s license.

Once we reached the end of the road, or the next traffic light, we doubled back on the golf cart path. The paths are wide enough for two golf carts and that’s being generous. I listened to John, a retired rocket scientist who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and other interesting projects before retiring to this quiet town. I was a big fan of the space program and spent a week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama in the mid-80s, so conversation went without a hitch.

The only downside was that once we finished and put our bags on the side of the road, the group disbanded. I took the almost 50-mile ride home and caught up on some podcasts.

Picking up trash is not a cause. It does allow you to slow down and think about your life for a spell. Reality hit me when a golf cart drove by with a customized Baltimore Ravens design. Had he seen my hat before passing, I might have been run over.

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