At the base of Olympia’s Eastside Water Tower sit two garbage cans. The trash cans are surrounded by two relatively private rectangular expanses of black-top, surrounded by brush and ivy. While most people look upward to see the landmark atop the Eastside Neighborhood, the area around the tower itself provides the opposite perspective: an absolutely amazing view of the city. However, this post will examine a view not quite so geographically expansive. In fact, we will stick to viewing the topmost layer of rubbish in the garbage can, and any detritus immediately nearby.
The ‘COOL BOOBS’ graffiti on the top of trash can is likely indicative of the maturity of the demographic that left it. A wide variety of beer cans litter the grounds of the water tower, and not just the Steel Reserve characteristic of your local transient, chronic inebriate. Everything from jumbo cans of Foster’s to micro-brews litter the area. The top of the waste bin itself had many containers of whip cream. Whip cream is seldom mentioned as a gateway drug, but the nitrous oxide used as a propellant in whip cream is the same as the gas used in dental offices. However, in the same layer of trash you can also find evidence of heroin use: syringes, ampules of sterile water, and sawed-off beer cans used to heat up and dissolve the drug in.
While it is entirely possible that each of these items of drug detritus were left by different individuals, they are sharing the same location to engage in these risky behaviors. The disturbing fact is, this could be any garbage can near Downtown Olympia. Our community needs to keep an eye on our youth, model healthy stress-relieving behaviors, and provide opportunities for positive social engagement. There are a lot of other things we can use this space for other than a discrete place to experiment with drugs.