Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back in Business

It’s January 19, mid-month. All this late fall and even into the early winter plastic has been scarce. Maybe we’re out of business? A bittersweet feeling of being “fired from our job” mixed with the pleasure of several trips to a clean beach. But the usual phenomena are at work, the California Current sweeping down from the north carries debris down, away from the coast and out into the Great North Pacific Gyre. This cool water gives us the typical summer coastal fogs—our summer air conditioning. Winter brings the weaker Davidson Current up from the south and the beach becomes loaded with plastic washed out from wetlands everywhere, and even drags stuff ashore from the Gyre. We know this by aging, marine growth and labeling.

We had planned for a quick trip, just to inspect for changes in the plastic loading and we are perversely thrilled to see it’s back in the usual tangle of gobs and confetti-like shards. We had planned to be here a little more than an hour. As is typical we don’t pick up everything just the things to enhance our curatorial project. Color, of course, attracts the eye so we gather a full palette of mosaic pieces, and we also grab bottle caps, tiparrelo tips, nurdles, lighters HandiSnack® spreaders. We decide to no longer tally by weight. We’ll count by color and kind when we get home. 1212 is the total reckoning of pieces including 187 nurdles, 51 shotgun waddings, 20 tiparillo tips, 29 pens, 20 oyster tubes, 3 paintbrush handles, 2 toothbrushes, 2 combs, 170 lids. We found 1 girl’s hairclip in black with a poodle design, a mini-toy fire truck, a cervical cap, 5 HandiSnack® sticks and 4 lighters. All of this was in just over an hour of collecting. Sadly, we’re back in business.