Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thanks, Mr. Fisherman

View Larger MapHere's grassroots action in its purest form. I'm riding on the dedicated path from Békásmegyer to Szentendre, the one along Route 11, and as I'm going through the underpass tunnel just north of Omszk Lake (see map), I come upon this gnomish guy next to a parked bicycle, and he's got a primitive broom in his hands and he's sweeping up the path.

I knew exactly what he was doing because a couple days before in the same tunnel, I'd had to swerve to avoid a bunch of broken green glass. On that morning, I made a mental note to bring a hand broom on my next ride. But, of course, I forgot and never did follow through.

But while I had ridden on by without doing anything, this guy had stopped and taken action. He didn't bother with going home to get a broom. He bundled up an armload of willow switches from the grass nearby and fashioned a rudimentary broom that was doing a perfectly good job. I stopped to ask if he might be a worker for the city (this part of the path is the responsibility of the Municipality of Budakalász), and he said no, he was just a fisherman, and he wanted to get rid of the glass so that his fellow cyclists wouldn't blow their tires. I thanked him and rode on, reminded that sometimes community activism can be as simple as sweeping up.

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