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Final score: Facemasks 12, plastic bags 1


The other morning, as I walked for 30 minutes along parts of several streets between B & G Automotive and the Bulletin, I counted 12 discarded facemasks and one plastic bag, which was clinging to a dead weed.

The City of Las Cruces began a so-called plastic-bag ban Jan. 1. I can’t imagine there will ever be a similar ban on facemasks, but they certainly have added a new dimension to the landscape. Perhaps they are becoming New Mexico’s new basura del dia (trash de jour).

My greatest disappointment was that the abandoned masks I saw during my walk were all either black, blue or white.

When it was clear that the mask mandate was here to stay, you see, I bought red, blue (two shades), green (two shades), yellow, pink, purple and orange masks. Since a very early age, I have been all about color and coordinating the colors I wear. I am the only person I know (except for Santa, course) who owns a red suit. I now have masks that go with everything in my wardrobe.

My workout clothes are similarly coordinated into red, green, yellow, black and blue, with matching masks. The first four are built around Kansas City Chiefs caps and T-shirts – yes, I have them in green – and the last goes with Los Angeles Rams gear. I am also a Packers fan, but I haven’t worked Green Bay into my color scheme.

I think it’s also worth noting that I counted about a half-dozen travel-size liquor bottles (all empty) during my walk, about that many beer cans (also empty, one flattened), four drinking straws, a small plastic skeleton in two parts (left over from Halloween?) a shoe, a glove, two socks many feet (no pun intended) apart and two halves of a pizza box – all at different locations. (Please note that I was only observing; I picked up nothing.) I also passed one guy on a bicycle, who (the rider, not the bike) smiled at me. Thank you!

It occurred to me that there really wasn’t very much trash or that many weeds along the two busy streets and the two quiet streets where I was walking. Granted, the walk only covered about 2 ½ miles, but it was pretty tidy. Mask colors notwithstanding, it was a beautiful walk in a beautiful city that I love very much and am very, very grateful to live in.

If you happen to see an abandoned facemask as you are driving or walking and it’s any color except black, blue or white, I may have lost it.

Mike Cook