|Weather||partly sunny and drying out after a wet holiday weekend|
|Temperature||75F / 22C degrees|
|Mood||a little dizzy from (nausea, meds, allergies?) but glad to be outside being producti|
|Restoring nature||1.5 hours|
Welcome to our Belmont Plateau. It’s the place Will Smith sings everybody goes in his song, Summertime. He is not wrong. On the pleasant early June afternoon I experienced Black, white, Hispanic, Indian, and other Asian groups enjoying the park. It is the home of my high school cross country course, and many athletic types come to run the hills. I learned that some people come there to ride their horses. It has one of the best Philadelphia skyline views around. I was there as a volunteer cleaning up litter for 90 minutes with my Fairmount Park Conservancy group.
Slow jams were blasting in the parking lot from one of the park users’ speaker setup. All the volunteers were trying to stay away, but I subtly nudged them towards it. One father with his young son thanked me for my cleanup efforts. So many broken bottles were around. Why, people? Glass can hurt you. As I neared the men’s bathroom, a place that I spent time in before many cross country races, a man went in. He came out probably a minute later muttering the m@#$fu@er is almost unusable. I cleaned up some nasty vacation rooms in my youth when I was a chambermaid. Thus, I decided someone has to try to fix it and I had a tool and a trash bag. I went into the men’s room for a trip down memory lane.
Our Belmont Plateau men’s room had a simple beige look, boring, kind of unremarkable, very much the way I remembered it. There was zero graffiti. It looked like the toilet seats were trampled on intentionally with mud. It was clear, based on some of the litter, that someone was living at one point out of the bathroom. I cleaned up all the litter I could reasonably capture with my grabber.
I felt a familiar feeling, perceiving myself as different from the others around me. I thought about all the people with low paying unappreciated jobs and the stereotype of well off people looking down on them. I made the men’s bathroom usable. I really needed a fire hose and a mop to really clean it well. I did my best. It was my small gesture for the day to all those people that don’t have much and to all those who had to pee and did not want to walk on trash. My nausea went through the roof from some of the “litter”. It was still worth it.
I was a little surprised to learn that our Belmont Plateau is a place where people really get busy. I found many, er, littered French ticklers. I would have been better off with a long sweeper and a shovel at some spots. You got to have the right tools for the job.
I had a good time amidst the diversity of people and activities. Picnics, Frisbee games, runners, equestrian activities, conversations, music, dogs walking and playing. It was all going on at our Belmont Plateau. It made me feel good to make the place a little more safer and pleasant for everyone.