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Trash Day in the suburbs


Today is Trash Day and the amount of trash the neighbor to my right generates never ceases to amaze me.

They are a family of five, on their way to becoming a family of six.
Of course they have diapers, diaper boxes and general trash like most other people have.

But they usually have large items that are not easily broken down and lots of it. They have lived there for roughly three years and when they bought the house they gutted it.

So for about five months the trash they produced was interesting, large and logical. Sometimes their trash was even disguised in opaque black bags that looked really heavy and ominous.

But the renovations are done and two years later they still seem to produce large sheets of paneling, huge boxes (the kind refrigerators come in), rolls of discarded carpeting and other large stuff I can't identify.

Almost every week, this neighbor's trash causes the truck to empty its load before moving on to the next house.

And let me just add, these particular neighbors are not big on following rules. Our city has some general guidelines that they expect us citizens to follow or they will refuse to take the trash.

One of the rules is that twigs, branches, brush and the like must be bundled in three-foot sections and tied with twine or cord. If not, they will leave it on your lawn til the cows come home. This neighbor left out some woody material for a good four months last spring/summer, during which time our fine city workers refused to acknowledge the mess. Finally she called them for a special pick up and stood there while she forced them to take it away, unwrapped and lying askance.

While I had been silently cheering for the Trash Men all those months, they really let me down when they finally succumbed to her pressure. Why do we have rules if they are not enforced for everyone? Yes, I will admit, I am a strident rule-follower. We'll get to that in a later post.

When you're home all day with small children, you do notice the comings and goings outside of your house. To make it interesting, sometimes I create a back-story for the Trash Man.

Our usual Trash Man works alone and wears an ipod, a red bandana over his head (kind of like Tim McGraw) and is in really good physical shape -- he has really well-defined arms. I like to imagine that he is saving up to open his own PowerHouse Gym franchise and that he just works for the city picking up trash to pay the bills.

He works out daily at the gym and has grand ideas of how to really cater to his clientele. He's a bit of a marketing genius and just lacks the capital to make his dream come true.

He was in a committed relationship, but his girlfriend didn't take his goal of business ownership seriously, so he recently cut her loose.

Lastly, he imagines telling his children and grandchildren, how working as a Trash Man made him humble and down-to-earth. He worked for every bit of his success and he expects his family to remember where they came from.

At least, that's what I imagine is going through his head when he so graciously picks up my week of garbage that I line up ever so neatly in front of my house.

Whether he is a struggling business owner or not, I do appreciate his willingness to show up each Friday, regardless of the weather, and haul away my rubbish.

And for that I send out the following: Thank you Trash Men of the World. You create order where there was once chaos.


2006-10-27 at 9:25 a.m.

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