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  • Writer's pictureCharles Cherney

88: Street Cleaning

We have been living on a side street outside Inman Square since 2001. Part of my regular routine in all those years is cleaning the street several times a week. For whatever reason, we have a trash problem. I recall reaching out to the city of Cambridge many years ago about it. For a few months, they had the Department of Public Works on trash detail here. But then they stopped coming.

I have never stopped. I clean the street two or three times a week, sometimes more often.

The snow melted in the last week, so I collected more trash than usual. I think my leaf bag weighs in at 75 pounds.

I pick up cigarette butts and fast food wrappers and liquor bottles and broken glass and lotto scratch tickets and food and just about anything and everything you can imagine.

It's interesting to see how others respond to me.

Some move across the street, concerned perhaps that I am crazy. Who cleans the street?

Some people thank me.

Others watch me, like I am an interesting zoo animal.

Interestingly enough, after more than 15 years of street cleaning, no one has ever helped me.

I carry on. The street remains more or less clean because of my ongoing efforts. Later this year, a social club with a bar that is located across the street will close. I am excited about that, as I believe it will mean that my workload is reduced.

Keeping it clean.


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