Every few months it seems someone (or the city maybe) organizes a dog park cleanup day. Rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, plastic bags, cheapee work gloves, pitchforky things all appear in the park. And the dog owners chip in to do stuff. It's kinda coolio! This dog park is great and pretty big. Probably about the size of a baseball field and its covered in woodchips. Today was cleaning day. This afternoon when I got there with Roscoe, I saw a dozen or so people doing helper things around the park while their dogs played.
I was kind of psyched (although a little unpsyched...but mainly psyched) to pitch in and help out. I like community project things and it's rare that I actually get a chance to participate because I'm inside so much and out of it most of the time. So after I let Roscoe off the leash, I dove right in and grabbed myself some workgloves and a metal claw rake to set off and pitch in all troopery helpery. I noticed only one guy not helping. He was sitting on the bench hiding behind a newspaper. Everyone else was working doing something! I thought that guy was a jerk.
So I picked a spot and started raking some woodchips. Rake rake rake over here. Rake rake rake over there. The problem was I didn't exactly know what I was supposed to be raking. The woodchips? I guess I was supposed to spread them out a little more but they seemed pretty pre-spread out in a nice layer. So I wandered over by the fence and started to rake some woodchips away from the fence line a little. Rake rake rake. But it kind of seemed unnecessary. It seemed like everything was pretty well pre-raked or something. I kind of shrugged. I decided to bag the rake thing because I didn't understand it.
I put the rake back and grabbed a giant black plastic bag scanned the ground for garbage. I wandered around staring at the ground on garbage patrol. The problem was... I couldn't really find any trash. Nothing good anyway. I was all ready to pick stuff up with my work gloves and everything! I mean there were a few things here or there. I found a piece of yarn and put it in my giant lawn and leaf sized plastic bag. I also found like a top to a soda can tab thing. I put that in the bag. I headed toward the back of the park to hunt for fresh garbage- but I simply couldn't find anything! There was a half-tennis ball but I wondered if that even qualified for garbage at a dog park. I mean... maybe some dog would kinda like a half-tennis ball. I dropped it back on the ground.
I looked around the park to see what everyone else was doing. Probably fifteen people wandering around the park. I saw some dude with a shovel sort of scraping at the ground. Some chicks were wandering around aimlessly with plastic bags. I saw a few half-hearted rakings going on here and there. And that's when it hit me. This park is already clean! Pretty thoroughly too! It was early afternoon at this point! All this cleaning and raking had probably been going on since the early morning! Now the job was basically done and everyone walking around was faking doing something! That guy wasn't raking anything! He was just moving stuff around! That chick didn't have anything in her garbage bag except her own starbucks cup!
I put the bag back and sat down on the bench in protest of doing something for nothing. I watched everyone doing nothing/something and got a little kick out of it. Nobody was really doing anything! But after a few minutes I caught a few stares from other dog owners. Someone came by and sort of raked nothing near me and shot me a look. A woman with a trash bag walked by and gave me a look too. That 'What are you too good to help out too?' look. I started feeling weird just sitting there while everyone was pretending to work. It seemed like there was a weird understanding among all the workers that you had to show an effort out of respect for the park or other people or something. And not let the cat out of the bag that nobody was doing anything. I kind of understood that.
So I got up and grabbed another rake and started pushing around some woodchips to be a good dog park citizen. I tried to get into the zen of it a little or something. Eventually Roscoe came over and shot gave me a look like, 'What are you doing that for?' I gave him a look back trying to say, 'It's people stuff... You wouldn't understand.'