I really love making trash art. I’m coming up to a year anniversary of Dr. Plastic Picker and there are many new identities I’ve tried on. I’m definitely a blogger now with over 270 blogpost. I’m an environmental activist. I’m a litter-picker and ocean beach cleaner. I’m an occassional plogger (picking up trash and jogging). I’m an Instagrammer with almost now 1100 followers. I didn’t even know what Instagram was before all this. I’m still a Pediatrician, HMO Middle Manager and mother. But the role that has been most delightful is that I’m a trash artist. I really like making trash art.
It’s funny how one can read quotes and understand them conceptually, but until you experience that stage of destruction and growth than that is when you understand it viscerally. From great hardship and tragedy can come tremendous growth. What I wanted to add today, is that what enables one to grow and recover and be reimagined is connections, community, bonds and relationships with the other living lifeforms around us. There is a resiliency in being connected.
Dr. Plastic Picker has now completed my FIFTH anti-vaping trash art piece. Yes my FIFTH trash art piece. The first one was Ocean Plastic Beach Baby which made a great splash on my personal facebook page. She was quickly followed by Vaping Company CEO Man, Hypertensive Man Made from Vaping Pens and an old blood pressure cuff, Shark Boy with Vaping Pen Arms, “A Deconstructed Life,” and yesterday I posted on Instagram “Vaping Aliens: Vaping Flavors Hook Adults, Kids and Aliens.”
As a litter-picking and ocean plastic pollution preventer, I am part anthropologist as I sometimes sort through the debris of our modern human lives. Not only are these vaping pens literally going into the oceans (I found the passion fruit one on the lower left panel on Tourmaline Beach in Pacific Beach washed onto the rocks), they are going into the lungs of our children and of their beloved parents. Two parents told me yesterday that they Vape, and that the flavors are hooking them. Now I am irate that children are being marketed to and children are telling me that the middle school bathrooms are FILLED with vaping students. And now I have realized that the hard-working parents that I have known for years are falling victim to the Vaping Company CEO Man. They are taking money from your children and your families, and also polluting our oceans.
This is the OBJECTIVE TRUTH that Dr. Plastic Picker sees in the world now.
Trash is ubiquitous. Our life is full of disposables. Single use beverage containers, single use fruit squeezes and single use friends. Why put the effort into buying fresh apples and remembering to eat one every day before they spoil, when you can buy a box of Go-Go Squeeezes that lasts practically forever? I was chatting with a co-worker. We were discussing a departmental issue and I used a trash analogy. She agreed and said that everything can be analagous to trash. She is right – trash is everywhere. It is the medium that conducts our modern lives and relationships.
Yesterday was a productive trash art day because I finished three pieces. I was in the flow. Some of them are useful for my Pediatric Anti-Vaping and Anti-Smoking work efforts. Some are silly. Some are helping me work through issues. I never thought I had issues, but I now realize that we all have issues. My dog died at 5 years of age when I was away at college. I never fully processed it. I made a trash art picture memorial to him. It’s silly and sad. It’s meant for me. I’ll hang it in my office.
It was good to be back at work yesterday. My mask and faceshield were on. I realize I probably talk too much as my Faceshield was fogging up with my extensive counseling yesterday. I talked with families about a need for a less plastic filled life and more real food and fiber for the world. I emphasized that we all needed connections with nature. A parent told me about their family’s new gardening project. We talked about the possibility of new drive-through vaccines, which will be more efficient and safer. A mother told me she was focused on teaching her daughter kindness. And I ate lunch with Dr. Dear Friend and tried to physically distance in the lunch room. We split her yummy salad which she seasoning with Pico de Gallo and Rice Vinegar which complimented the fresh avocados, cucumbers and tomatoes. I did contribute some of my homemade hummus and pita bread. We found some crisp fried corn tortillas in the lunch room. And then we walked over to the grocery store Vons that has a Starbucks, and we left our large HMO compound and walked across a busy freeway onramp and over the overpass and found some coffee. They are not letting us use reusable coffee mugs, but Dr. Dear Friend and I needed the caffeine and the activity. I tried her favorite drink yesterday for the first time and I’m a convert – Grande Soy Latte.
This is Chirp Chirp, the second piece in my trash art series. Honestly, the first few times I posted about Chirp Chirp – I was joking. I had been mistakenly kicked off Instagram and the virtual world of looking at other people’s trash hauls was gone. Through Instagram I was able to jet all over the world and see interesting trash finds from Germany to South America and especially my young friend from Nepal who is almost on his 100th bag. But without Instagram, I began doing more Trash Art and actually my writing became more productive. Instagram is fun but I only ever get a trickle of traffic from Instagram, less than the traffic directed by my comments on Retireby40 which is an early retirement blog. I just read Joe’s blog because I like it and I post sometimes. One Facebook commenter on a environmental group I joined really summed it up, Instagram can be an echoing chamber. You feel like you are influencing people more than you are, because you are preaching to the choir.
This is Mr. Plastic Picker’s response to seeing some of the destruction that tourism causes on the mountains and the Aspen trees. Also after the perilous drive from Snow Bird to Park City in one of the worst snowstorms he has ever driven through.
And beyond that Protected Beach and the Parking Lot, I travel further
until I reach the soaring cliffs of beauty and life
Sand cliffs that may crumble at any moment
Posted signs warn “Unstable Cliffs, Stay Back.”
But there are Marbled Godwits there, a flock of friends feeding
There is a black shoe sole, alone and abandoned
There is a bag of mammalian waste with an aluminum can wedged inside
There is a jagged rigid piece of white plastic, there is a small rectangle of blue
I bend over to pick up the pieces, unafraid of the cliffs
I am cleaning the cliffs, picking up bits and pieces
The cliffs may crumble. The house above may collapse. Milliions of human dollars may be lost.
But the earth will warm. Our eco-system will collapse, and generations of birds will die – if I don’t pick up the plastic.
The Marbled Godwits will eat the plastic
So I am fearless and I clean the sand
A handsome man, so handsome with a leashed mannerly dog asks, “What are you doing?”
I think of Mr. Plastic Picker, and I smile openly and say, “I am picking up Plastic for my trash art. I love the blues.”
The handsome man says, “You are doing two good things, cleaning the earth and making art?” He smiles.
I think of Mr. Plastic Picker and I smile with openness and love for the earth, my husband and this fellow human being. “It makes me happy. There are Marbled Godwits over there.” I point to the North Shore. “They are endangered shore birds with sharp needle-point black beaks.”
The man smiles kindly and walks with his leashed handsome dog to the North.
An unleashed Pekginese walks by. I think, please don’t chase the Godwits. Those Marbled Godwits are my friends.
I walk within the soaring sand cliffs, the cliffs of beauty and I walk with life.
Instagram’s loss is Chirp Chirp’s gain. I have no idea why I have been banned from instagram but I am going with it https://drplasticpicker.com/trashy-art-poor-chirp-chirp-the-joy-of-the-unexpected/. I am taking it as a sign to refocus on the blog and actually again advocate for reducing plastic pollution in the real world. Without my Instagram friends and the virtual Instagram world, drplasticpicker decided to return to the physical dimension. I have returned to Chirp Chirp.
This is Chirp Chirp’s bad side. She is the second piece in my “Trashy” art series. Our daughter named her. I was going to name her Birdy, but our daughter thought Chirp Chirp was better. It seems an appropriate name. “Trashy – Whale in Blue” is turning out much better. I love the different blue hues of the plastic I find, and that piece is coming together quickly.
Chirpy is not going as well. I really think Chirp Chirp is more beautiful in person. If you see her, you can appreciate the interesting pieces of plastic that make up her body. It’s not quite harmonious yet. I’m trying not to alter the plastic pieces, but letting them really speak to me about where they should go. She is like that junk drawer in your kitchen with all the important bits and pieces you don’t want to throw away but you need. I think in the end she will turn out fine, as long as I layer pieces of plastic like feathers. It’s harder to find “cleaner” looking white pieces of plastic because I don’t want Chirp Chirp to look like a dirty bird. But if you look at her carefully she has such interesting pieces as part of her plastic form.