When walking through PQ, you can look down at any planter (tree) box and you’re certain to see one of two things: gum or cigarette butts. If you took a random sample of any four boxes you could add animal feces and beer/liquor bottles. We’ve talked about dogs using the boxes before, no problem there so long as you always clean up after your dog (there is no excuse for not picking up after your dog/having plenty of plastic bags on hand). And we’re not likely to solve the beer/liquor bottle problem anytime soon. That leaves the gum and the cigarettes.
We’ll start with cigarettes: Why would anyone think it was ok to throw a smoldering flame into a box full of dried twigs? Many of the buildings downtown offer smokers’ poles for cigarette disposal, and most of the metal garbage cans have lips that can be used to extinguish (and then dispose of) the butts. And yet somehow the gum bothers us more; maybe it’s because we know several smokers but don’t know any adults who chew gum except those (1) trying to quit smoking, or (2) on a flight.
Obviously lots of people like gum, and in moderation there is nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with spitting your gum out on into these boxes or on the sidewalk. We really like the banana pudding from Capital Q, but we don’t spit it out onto the sidewalk when we’re through with it. Doesn’t it seem strange that there is an entire industry and product lines designed around cleaning up gum from sidewalks?
Soon the spring planting will start and the boxes will all be full of grasses and flowers. But you can be sure it won’t take long before the gum, cigarette butts, feces and bottles are in full bloom once again.