I heard once that the French don't care what you do as long as you pronounce it correctly. I don't know how far one can push that idea without garnering some major embarrassment if not a night in Jail du Nord. I do know that my French sucks, so they probably don't want me saying much of anything. After a certain episode in Nice in 1992 they haven't really wanted me there at all.
The Japanese have words for things that in other languages take half a day to explain. But I'm not sure they have a word for what I've been up to recently. Until the other day I didn't think anyone had a word for it. Then I discovered the Swedish term "plogging".
Doesn't really sound Swedish. Doesn't sound like something one would do in public either. Those who don't know what "plogging" is may or may not feel compelled to keep reading. Some might be quite eager to know what kind of embarrassing/committable person is behind this blog. But I am happy to report (and my mother is undoubtedly quite happy to hear) that the word plogging, a mix of Swedish and English, refers to the act of picking up trash while exercising.
Actually, I have never said "I plog." And I had never written it either until forty-five seconds ago. But according to the folks in the plog-o-sphere I suppose I would rank as a plogger.
I never intended to become one who plogs, but when I go out for a walk while my daughter splashes through another swimming lesson; when I'm out on a lazy bike ride because I just want to be outside; when I'm running errands on my bicycle, or picking my girl up from school on foot, or waiting for my son's soccer coach to finally stop talking so we can all go home and eat, sometimes I'll start picking up trash.
Sometimes I even stick a plastic bag in my back pocket before heading out the door. It's surprising how much crap there is on the ground out there once you try to hold it all in one hand.
Beofre I turned down the road that would lead me home I glanced over at the woman. She had in her hands a couple of plastic bottles that, I can say from experience, looked like they had been in the bushes a while.
I don't know if that woman has ever heard - or ever will hear - the word plog. I can only imagine how she'd pronounce it. But it doesn't matter.
What matters is that we plog.