Topanga’s Trash Warriors as Adjunct Mail Carriers

Beth GoodeBy Beth Goode      April 16, 2021

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Topanga’s Trash Warriors as Adjunct Mail Carriers
Empty cans of five-hour energy boost and masks are often found littering Topanga’s roadsides.
"It’s Raining Men!” Remember that ’80s disco song from days of yore? No? Well, probably not a huge cultural or musical loss to you. Look it up though, because it’s kind of fun and you can have the tune in your head when you read this next part. We have our own version with slightly revised lyrics, “It’s Raining Mail.” This, by the way, is not nearly as thrilling as if it were raining men. We find newspapers, catalogues, letters, and packages opened and thrown from car windows of get-away vehicles after the mail heists. It’s raining mail, hallelujah!! In addition to cleaning up garbage, we do detective work to return items to their rightful owners when we find stuff on the Boulevard, and we serve as an adjunct to the USPS. We deposit the found mail at the post office if we cannot get to the addressed person ourselves to return their mail to them. We never find money or checks. Those must be retained by the folks who absconded with the mail. Gift boxes are left opened on the boulevard, and the gifts confiscated if they are deemed worthy. One week we picked up a medical ID bracelet fresh from the manufacturer. I guess that kind of jewelry is unappealing to someone without the corresponding medical condition. Handwritten letters and cards are left on the sides of the road. Those pull at our heart strings. We may be warriors, but we are not monsters! Those letters are happily returned. The mail is found in trees, bushes, up the sides of the hills along the road and down the sides of the hills that reach the creek. It looks as if the postal gods had a hell of a party and flung the letters about like confetti. We are uncertain as to whether there are postal gods, so we assume these pieces of mail are being tossed about by humans. While toilet paper continues to litter the highway, the scattered mail is making a play for “Most Common Trash on TCB.” They are neck-and-neck in the race. Stay tuned! Drinking seems to have elevated to a classier choice of alcohol. Courvoisier and Hennessy Cognac bottles are proliferating among the cans of beer and five-hour energy drink cans that litter the canyon. One of the energy drink cans was spotted inches away from a used Magnum condom. Let your imagination fancy that undertaking. Over three consecutive Sundays, we have collected 47 bags worth of trash, tires, construction debris, and other oversized items that have lost their appeal to their owners. When we have eight warriors, we collect about 25 bags full of trash. When we have six warriors, we collect closer to 13 bags. There is always more trash out there than we can gather as our warrior numbers have fallen due to people moving out of the canyon or having physical issues that keep them away these days. We are hoping for new folks to join in and help keep the canyon beautiful. As the sun rose on the roadsides last Sunday, the new, young grass sparkled an iridescent green. With the yellow lemon drop flowers springing up amidst the grass, I couldn’t help smiling as I walked along. At other portions of the highway, the fallen maple leaves lay at least a foot thick in their golden glory, albeit, sometimes with a mask in their midst. This is a magnificent place to live. To walk it on Sunday mornings is divine. The birds and the creek sing as we all wake up to the new day. As we gathered this week in the post office parking lot, Paul Gryzmkowski shared a terrifying find from the Top of Topanga Overlook: A Roman Candle firecracker, the last thing Topangans want to see in our landscape. We would love to meet you at the Topanga Post Office at 7 a.m. any Sunday. We will embrace you, metaphorically, of course, and outfit you with everything your heart desires, as long as that has to do with gathering trash. See you there! Disclaimer #1: We will not be handing out umbrellas to protect any new Warriors from the raining mail. Disclaimer #2: You will feel great about your effort to help heal and protect the land. This will not last. By Monday morning, you will be met with the sight of more trash already accumulating on the road. That is why we do what we do!
Beth Goode

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