It was an overcast day and slightly windy. I ran out of the guesthouse door to catch up with my roommate and a couple others who were walking with her. I didn't have time to go. Next week, I have two final tests and a mid-term. I also have a huge 3000 word paper due on the topic of interpreting sentences with quantifier scope ambiguity. In short, I've been studying and doing homework alot. But, I have trouble focusing on studying for hours at a time anyway, and I had all afternoon set aside for studying. So, I went.
A group of us gathered by the flagpoles. There were about 20 people. We prayed, and armed ourselves with plastic gloves and bags. The organizer announced that there would be a prize for the most interesting piece of trash and one for the useful piece of trash.
Rachel and I crossed the street from the school, and started working. There were lots of little pieces of paper everywhere, but nothing that resembled interesting or useful trash. The shoulder was wide, and our progress seemed extremely slow. Within 15 minutes, two other people joined us, so we started moving forward faster. I was the first person to find an interesting piece of trash. It was a lock. "It's not quite useful because there's no key," one of my friends remarked. The wind picked up, and it began to drizzle. A cold front came to Texas this weekend, so it was almost cold.
As we got into the long grass and bushes, there was a lot more trash. Certain areas looked like a junkyard. We picked up a lot of beer bottles - some were whole, and some were crushed. The group across the street from us quit working, so we sent half of our team across the street - where there was even more trash littered everywhere. That team eventually wound up finding a TV and a matress! Rachel and I continued working. People were quitting one by one because of the cold weather, so our dean of students was picking them up and driving them back. One person took a break to go get a sweater so he could keep working.
We had a couple people drive by and honk at us. One woman even drove by and said, "Thanks so much for what you are doing."
I was picking up the pieces of yet another crushed beer bottle when I cut my finger on the glass. Rachel flagged down the dean of students, and asked for the first aid kit. While she was doing that, I was watching the blood spill out of my finger. It was amazing that such a tiny cut could let so much blood out. Rachel cleaned the cut and put on a bandaid, and we went back to work.
I was just starting to feel miserable. I was wet, dirty, and my finger hurt. Then, I saw in the distance a guy carrying a garbage bag. Only one of the people who had been working from the other end on our side of the road made it. The rest had all given up. But, the other side of the road wasn't done yet. So, my roommate and I and one other guy got a ride down the road to the other end so that we could work back toward our friends. Rachel picked up a bottle, and accidentally spilled something on herself that smelled bad. She didn't want to know what it was.
The dean of students eventually told us we were almost done, and also that we were the last team picking up trash. The last group besides us had quit to go pick up the bags that everybody had left on the side of the road. When we got back to the school, I didn't stick around for the judging of the trash contest because I had to work on my paper, and we'd been working for about three hours. I was tired, dirty, wet, and worried that I needed to get to homework, so I just went back to my room and got to work.
I went to the library to get a book for my paper, and when I returned, I met some people in the front part of the guest house. They told me that I had won the most useful piece of trash contest when I found a somewhat flat and dirty volleyball. The guys from the guest house pumped it up, and it did look better.
Besides that, our GIAL volleyball is all beat up. It whistles when it flies through the air because pieces of the outside of it are tearing off. We were just about to take up a collection for a new ball. But, I'm very skeptical that this ball is good. It looked like it will be a painful one, so I'm still hoping we decide to buy a new one.
The winner of the most interesting trash contest was my roommate. She found a glove with an empty medicine bottle inside. Had I been at the voting, I would have chosen the mattress. I was trying to imagine how it got on the side of the road.