More than the high cost of living and the heavy traffic and all else, I hate the trash in Los Angeles. In the same way that the people in this city have desensitized themselves (out of pragmatics and, to some degree, necessity) to the reality of rampant homelessness, so they have come to ignore the excessive litter that lines sidewalks and streets. The garbage plays what would be the role of leaves in any other city and our acceptance of this new schema is both sad and perverse, to say the least.
It’s worth noting that the garbage itself is also particularly dirty. At first glance, it seems neither here nor there how dirty the garbage is—it is, after all, garbage. The dirtiness of garbage will spread evenly amongst all trash once it settles in a landfill somewhere. But interestingly enough we’re used to seeing rather clean garbage—your cereal box hasn’t been stomped on multiple times, or run over by a car so that it’s blackened with dirt. The gaudy packaging is still bright and lively as you throw the box into the trash can.
So, the dirtiness of the garbage that fills the streets of Los Angeles can be rattling. It seems to imply that the garbage has already reached its landfill; indeed, it’s likely that most pieces of trash here will never be picked up and taken to a real, designated “landfill” area.
Instead, the trash will be kicked around, driven over, walked on, been peed on by dogs (my dog, included) and it’ll live in Los Angeles as we do. The city will slowly fill with trash, as it does with people—and so will the rest of the world, but Los Angeles will be leading the charge at a faster rate.
In high school, I learned and pondered the principles of atrophy and chaos quite often. If you do not put a sufficient amount of work (energy) into a system to negate its natural atrophy, increasing amounts of disorganization and chaos will ensue. Most mornings, on my walk to work, I think about the infinitesimally small possibility that all trash in the entire city will be blown into one pile—it might collect itself, and we might have the chance to start over—just as there is the infinitesimally small chance that all the oxygen molecules in a room might at one moment gather in the top corner of said room, and its inhabitants wouldn’t be able to breathe.
But that doesn’t happen. It hasn’t ever, to my knowledge, and it very likely won’t.