The street sweeper

I swept the street and sidewalk outside the Hacienda this morning. I never swept the street in Houston. The city did it.

broomWell, the city never did it outside my suburban home because it never needed it. Like magic, the street was always clean.

But the city did it lots of other places, mostly downtown. It was not a job for the citizens. They paid taxes for that.

Where I live now, if you want a clean street and sidewalk outside your home, you must do it yourself. I still, after all these years, have trouble understanding that nobody will do it if I don’t do it.

So I rarely do it. Perhaps three or four times a year.

I do pick up large trash on a regular basis, however. We never have a shortage of broken beer bottles, candy wrappers and — my personal favorite — soiled disposable diapers, the worst and best invention ever.

gooseMy sweeping the street and sidewalk today was sort of a homage to autumn. Inside the house, my child bride did her own homage by spreading the goose down comforter on the king bed.

After sweeping the street and sidewalk, I enjoy a brief spell during which I drive home and admire my handiwork, the civic duty I have done.

But it does not last long. The beer bottles, the candy wrappers and the diapers reappear, and I’m right back where I started.

Sometimes it does not pay to get out of bed, especially on cold mornings when you’re under goose down with a warm woman.

17 thoughts on “The street sweeper

  1. My old office was a Victorian cottage situated next to a small section 8 apartment building. It was full of wannabe basketball players with a dumpster just outside the 3 point circle. A long shot would have the dirty diaper landing on my front porch. There were those days, but mostly they were good shots.


  2. The goal of keeping the front of your home clean is to prevent dust from getting indoors and keeping up with the Joneses. Your neighbors will judge you if you fail to keep up with appearances. If you let it get too bad, one of your neighbors will do it for you. This action is not good will. It is actually a reprimand.


    1. Andres: You and I live in different sorts of neighborhoods then because nobody has ever swept outside my house. Of course, I have a vacant lot across the street, a family on one side where the señora would let Hell freeze over before she did anything for me, and there’s the sex hotel on the other side. I’ll have to continue the occasional chore myself.


      1. When I interviewed an English class recently, I asked a group of Mexican teens, what do you like best about Uruapan? Several mentioned the traditions of the colonia they live in. When Fray Juan de San Miguel stumbled on Uruapan in 1531, he designed and built a city in the wilderness based on the utopia of St. Augustine’s City of God. One of these concepts was cleanliness is next to Godliness.


  3. We have people for that 🙂 paid for by us! And next spring when the live oaks shed their leaves and little dust-packed flowers, the people will come once a week and bag all the detritus for carrying away. Right now, as the growing season comes to an end, they are mowing grass, trimming edges, collecting fallen branches and acorns, all of which will magically disappear shortly by their hands. All for the sake of our neighbors, year-round lawn maintenance.


    1. Carole: When winter hits hard here, generally January, the banana trees and datura get clobbered. I’ll be hiring someone to come inside the property, cut the dead stuff, which is most all of it, and cart it away.


  4. Fall is also here. The nights in the low 40’s and days in the 60’s, although still sunny. My warmer comforter is on my bed, and the heat at night in the house. I paid homage by buying mums (fall flowers), a tradition of the season. I also wore a plaid flannel shirt (definitely fall) over the weekend and took a drive up north taking in the view of the trees dressed up in their colorful foliage. Every season has its sparkle.


  5. One of the beauties of Mexico is that there is a climate for nearly everybody. I’m half way down from the mountain top to the sea, and the temperature is still a balmy 72° – 57° today. No heat is necessary.

    I concur that babes in flannel shirts are a real treat.
    So is conspicuous cleavage.


  6. I do not sweep in front of my house, but the woman across the street does it for me. She would like money, but the gifts of flowers and an occasional chicken dinner seem to please her.


  7. We get street sweeping from April to November, at which point it stops. Snow is not good for street sweeping machinery, and it also tends to hide all the trash. In fact there’s nothing quite so depressing as a bleak spring day when the snow has receded enough to reveal all the trash that had been hiding within.

    When it’s not snowy, most of my neighbors and I pick up trash on the street in front of our houses. But down the street is a basketball court frequented by kids from the other side of the freeway, and it’s impossible to keep the street there clean as they have an unlimited capacity to drop trash.

    But we keep trying anyway.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we don’t get the whole litter thing, as the park has plenty of trash barrels that get emptied every week.


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