I should start by saying I don’t like graffiti. It mars property and it lowers my perception of anyplace it appears. But when you see the same graffiti almost every day, it becomes a familiar part of an experience.
I run the Bethesda Trolley Trail, which runs parallel to Old Georgetown Road through much of Bethesda. It is mainly asphalt, but includes two bridges, over the Beltway and 270. On those bridges, paved with concrete, there has been graffiti for quite some time. If you run the same route day after day, the graffiti became a landmark that marked your progress. Almost like an old friend.
So a week ago when running the trail, I was surprised to see the graffiti on both bridges, a telephone pole and a bench whitewashed. As you can see from the photos, it appears to have been done with little regard to the area, and in my opinion, defaces the trail more than the graffiti did. If this was done by whichever government organization is responsible for trail maintenance, we did not get our tax money’s worth. And if it was done by a citizen, it is just as bad a blemish on the trail as the graffiti had been.
The most striking graffiti had been on the bridge over the Beltway. You may still be able to make it out through the whitewash: “We’re the ghosts of tomorrow.” I wondered if that was from a song or poem that I was unfamiliar with, but a Google search turned up nothing. So as the ghosts of tomorrow, I don’t like the way a small nuisance became a whitewashed mess.