I rode the motorcycle to the mazo parking lot for the twice-annual road cleanup. There were about 15 of us, similar to last time. After a few doughnuts, we put on our stylish safety vests and got to work. I volunteered for Laws Drive again, because I was interested in seeing just how much trash accumulates over a summer. My partner-in-cleanup was the Badger Naturists website administrator, who was snapping pictures for the site. (As of now, they haven't been published yet on their site.) I'll skip the tech-talk that made up the majority of our conversation in order to keep you the reader awake. He has visited Cap D'Agde, and told me that it's very much a city atmosphere and that people are quick to put clothes on as soon as the sun goes down. Good to know, I guess, since I've been hoping to visit there sometime.
Notable items that I found while picking up trash include an eaten ear of corn, a bird skull, and 5 condom wrappers. I also found a standard geocaching information sheet and a geocaching business card, which indicates that a geocache had been stolen. I posted a note on the one that was likely attacked. [UPDATE: The cache was stolen, and was replaced a month later.] My partner and I picked up about one large bag full of trash in total, which is half what I collected this spring. That's still a lot of trash for only 4.5 months! The entire crew had to deal with styrofoam packing peanuts, which makes me wish that more companies would switch to using the corn-starch ones that literally melt away when wet. Lastly, the crew observed that there were less cigarette packages and butts than normal, indicating that more people might be quitting the habit. I was happy to find out that I'm not the only one deriving statistics from trash cleanup.
After the cleanup, I had a difficult choice to make. Normally, everyone goes to Culvers for some free ice cream and what ends up being a club meeting for the Diligents. The other option was to ride with Clamor and Screech to the nearest Subway and then head straight to the beach. Culvers would strengthen my social standing with the Diligents, and further hurt my social standing with the Elders. Subway would probably not change my standing with the Diligents, and would indicate to the Elders that my intent was to help the community. To the pity of others, I chose to go with Clamor and Screech.
On the way to the beach, I saw a few DNR people and a group of Hmong hunters. The hunters were a bit scary, because all had their rifles slung on the backs, and several had some pretty large scopes. Is a large scope really needed for hunting near a nude beach? I started to wonder how many "hunters" might be hiding in camo on the other side of the river with their large scopes... I should buy one of these and find out.
As I walked past the Contenders, I returned their ball that landed a few feet from me. (This seems to happen a lot...) At the beach, I made it a point to sit near the Elders and make sure they knew that I helped with the road cleanup but didn't go to Culvers with the rest of the crew. They at least talked to me a bit, but have been referring to me as a "double-agent".
At one point, Smokey put on a pair of shorts and went to the parking lot. The Contenders' ball landed a few feet away from him. He looked at it, looked at them, and kept going. In my opinion, it's actions like these that further separate the groups on the beach. I wish they'd quit. Holding a grudge results in a never-ending cycle of negativity.
The sky was getting cloudy and the temperature was getting cool. The canaries of the beach had put their clothes back on. Kingpin and Smokey decided to call it a day early in the evening, at roughly the same time as more of the Diligents were showing up. Being a "double-agent", this worked to my advantage.
Gaia approached me and gave me a TNS golf shirt. I was confused, until she told me that my name was drawn for the prize. Cool! I tried it on, mostly because I was cold. It's a bit small (I think) and not my color (green), but I wore it for the rest of the day including a trip to Walmart. I plan to wear it when I can, including possibly to work. However, the green color might scare them more than the text.
It's amazing how much some of the beach members travel. Two of the cleanup crew were from Florida -- why they decided to clean up trash, I have no idea... Also, there was an older couple there who were back from 3 weeks in Germany. They reported that gas was $9 per gallon over there, so even their motorcycle was expensive to run. Here in the States, they often drive a veggie oil powered diesel.
Someone was telling me more about the Burning Man festival, since they had attended it a few times. They love it and hate it all at the same time. They love the radical self-expression, but hate some of the social situations. They told me about a naked woman who was in a large tray of glitter, and who had a crowd of men rubbing the glitter on her, and even in her special lady parts. Witnessing this, it was unclear if she was OK with this situation. If not, how would one person get all those men to stop? Social pressure is yet another danger for the festival, and the widespread drug use doesn't help.
Everyone at the beach had the idea that this would be the last good weekend of the summer. The temperatures are getting colder, but I've noticed that weather always comes in waves. The forecast indicates a cold wave, and after that will probably be another warm wave. I think we'll have another good weekend, or at least good weekday, where we can enjoy the beach. On this day, I intend to have a longer discussion with the Elders. I think they are worried that I will tell the Diligents details about them, and I need to clarify that I won't. Previous posts explain my intent well enough, but I am unsure if they read this blog. Either way, I feel as if I need to reconnect with them before it's too late.