9.08.2006

Big Garbage Day -or- One Man's Garbage Becomes Another Man's Clutter


I'm not sure if it is a city thing where I live or what - or if it's the same where you live, but the first regular garbage day of every month is "Big Garbage Day." I know, it sounds like a party, or some sort of cultural celebration. But in reality, it's the day when you can take ANYTHING to the curb and see if the garbage guys will take it away. When I first moved here, it was some sort of competition, like Letterman's "Will It Float" or something like that. I wondered where the boundaries were to what you could take to the street, and actually have them haul away in the back of a garbage truck.

We'd carry something to the street, and see if it got picked up, or left behind as some sort of violation of the official Big Garbage Day rules. We took an old lawnmower out. They took it. We took parts of big tree branches. They took them. We took construction waste - drywall, lumber bits, etc. They took it. Old loveseat - they took it. This was getting fun, I thought to myself...

Every month I'd take some new bit of junk out, and off to work I'd go, waiting to see if it would be gone when I got home.

Then, I started working from home. Ha! Now I can be entertained from the window every month when they show up to see which household castoff I have left for them to deal with. My mind started working overtime on what I could take out to the curb - dead farm animals? Small children? Old cars? Toxic waste from the meth lab next door? This was going to be fun!

I waited with anticipation for the next Big Garbage Day. I took out several items - an old mattress, computer monitor, and old tire, and some other miscellaneous crap. And waited. I can hear the trucks coming down the street and into the circle, so I was ready to watch the fun.

But what to my horror!!!???

After I had taken my treasures out to the street, I noticed traffic in the neighborhood. Increased traffic. Much traffic.

It seems that there is a constant stream of people in old trucks, pulling trailers, who "beachcomb" for crap before the big garbage trucks gets out! I was pissed off! My game had been hijacked by garbage pickers looking for crap to fuel their WEEKLY garage sales, furnish their meager homes, try to pawn, or sell for scrap. WTF??!!

It happens every time - big garbage day comes around, and the people start driving through the neighborhood. Picking through my trash. My old loveseat is probably sitting in somebody's basement, the old tires on one of the trucks.

Now I have to find a new game to play with the garbage men. I'm thinking Medical Waste. Livers, kidneys and such. Cancer things. Old man feet.

2 comments:

for what it's worth said...

What a hoot!
I wish we had a day like that here. I have so much I could get rid of. But unlike you, I would put out stuff for people to take if they wanted. Bikes, clothes, teenage children etc.
Oh well, I guess it'll just mean another trip to the dump soon. Unless of course you want me to send it to you to put on the curb....?

Reach Upward said...

We don't have anything like this in my community. Our garbage collection is totally sanitized and we have curbside recycling as well. Everything has to fit inside the city-distributed container. The truck driver cruises up along side the container in an enclosed, climate-controlled vehicle. Then a mechanical arm whips down, grabs the container, whips it up to the top of the bin and dumps it, and then returns the container to the ground.

There are strict regulations about what can go in the garbage and in the recycling containers, but I'm not sure what the real limits are. I suppose you could chuck a cow carcass in there if you could fit it. Who would know? The truck driver never sees the stuff.

I never see anyone going around lifting container lids to see if there's anything in there they want to pilfer. If you have old bicycles, love seats, etc., you've got to buy a dump pass and haul it to the dump yourself.

Oh, and for all of this sanitized niceness my community enjoys the highest property tax rate and some of the highest monthly fees in our county.