Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things Lived On

One of our first discoveries on moving out to the country a couple summers ago was that the monopolistic trash-removal company that serves our neighborhood is a pack of chiseling swine. Fifty clams a month they demanded for the privilege of picking up our household trash twice a month and hauling it to the county landfill.

Out of thrift, then, we fired the bandits toot-sweet. We compost our cooking scraps (if you leave out anything with fats or oils in it, the varmints leave it alone), and we recycle glass, paper and cardboard. The price for this simple economy is that about once a month I throw about ten bags of trash into the pickup and make a stop at the landfill on my way to work. Fifteen minutes' work? Worth the candle in anybody's book.

Once a year, however, I deeply -- that's deeply -- regret this decision of ours, and this evening is this year's occasion. As you may have heard (if you're not enduring it yourself), we're undergoing our usual July/August heat-wave, and temperatures broke triple digits today with no relief in sight. Arriving home after work, I parked the truck, intending to load up the overflowing trash to take early tomorrow morning. Wonder Woman donned her dainty rubber gloves to help, and we opened the first of three large rubber cans to begin manhandling its contents into the truck bed.

Putting the full trash-bags into the cans is an interesting illustration of the all-too-human trait of avoidance. You open the top, holding your breath against the resulting olfactory assault, quickly dump the bag in, and just as quickly slam the thing shut, the while thinking, Thank Glub I don't have to deal with that right now! And you go on your way back to your clean, well-lit life, banishing from your mind the dreadful prospect of coping with the accumulated avoidances festering in those noisome cans.

But the piper will be paid, as sure as death and taxes, and when we opened the first can this evening, there the piper was, hand outstretched, demanding the palm be crossed.

I'm not going to try to put you off your feed by describing the sight -- and, more to the point, the smell -- of garbage that's been roasting inside a rubber enclosure for a month of ninety-degree heat. But I could. Oh, man -- I could!

Before beginning, we'd had a moment of indecision. It was dinnertime, the water was boiling for the hot dogs and the tomato salad was ready, but the question was, Which choice was going to be harder on the stomach? Do it before dinner, and risk a loss of appetite? Or do it after eating, and risk the loss of the dinner itself? We chose the former -- perhaps out of that same thrift, I don't know. You hate to lose those Hebrew Nationals -- them's good, if pricey, eatin' -- and if you get too woozy to eat, well, you just put 'em back in the fridge uncooked.

After the hideous chore was done, Wondie came back inside, peremptorily picked up her dinner plate and utensils, put them back in the cupboard and went upstairs to shower -- I imagine she scrubbed real hard. Those little wiggly things will do that to a body. I did manage to choke down a hot dog, on general principles, but with absolutely no enthusiasm for the job.

Out the window I can see the truck now, its miasmatic contents surrounded by a halo of flies, hovering worriedly over the pile of heat-accelerated rot and buzzing the muscidaeical equivalent of "My babies! My babies!" The smell on this still, hot night is horrendous as soon as you leave the front door -- fully twenty yards from the truck -- and it leaves one with a rare but understandable enthusiasm for economic monopoly.

10 comments:

Annapolitan said...

At least white rice wasn't on the menu.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Yeah, ha ha! Or "raisinets".

Heyyy..."muscidaeical". Sweet. There is a lot of words.

Matt said...

I just want to say that I very much appreciate your reticence.

roxtar said...

We also are "served" by a garbage monopoly. Last week, I guess they couldn't be bothered to drive the entire mile to the end of our country lane to perform the service for which they had been amply compensated.

Now, I could have hiked out to the edge of the property and wheeled my garbage back to the house, and wheeled it back out there this week.....but I chose to let it sit, sealed, in the searing sun.

Bon appetit, Mr. Garbageman! Better thee than me!

Employee of the Month said...

Homer: Good news, everyone! I got in a fight with the garbage men and they're cutting off our service!
Marge: Oh, lord, now what are we going to do? Just let the trash pile up?
Homer: Hey, I'd rather live in a dump than in a world run by snooty garbage men.
Lisa: Dad, is this another one of those situations that could be solved by a simple apology?
Homer: I never apologize, Lisa. I'm sorry, but that's just the way I am. -- You're forgiven,

"Trash of the Titans"

We have a Halibutanesque trash pick up service and they were seriously proposing going from twice a week pick up to once a week (with no reduction in fees.
Average summer temp around these parts is 105.


[muttering] Ow, ow, stupid trash, rotten, stinky, hate world, revenge soon, take out on everyone...
-- Homer taking out the trash, "Trash of the Titans"

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

It may not always be the trash company, but it's always someone. Here, it's the gas company. Damn if January & February don't run me $400+ each. As for trash, our guys are $25/mo for once/week -- and they enthusiastically take ANYTHING. Couches, hot water heaters, construction waste, etc. This has spawned a mini-industry of trash pickers who tour the boroughs on trash nite looking for the "good stuff."

Kevin Wolf said...

We have weekly pick up which I usually manage to forget. We have bi-weekly recyclable pick up which I have yet to remember. I've only lived in Salem for three months, man. Cut me some slack.

I do get to enjoy the fragrance of sunbaked refuse in my walks around town, though. I can locate a restaurant's dumpster at 25 yards.

Bill said...

You should grill those hot dogs, not boil them. (Or is it "berl"?)

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Back when I was on a truck crew th' only thing that freaked me out was them semen-filled watermelons.

Its called-----"The Aristocrats"!!

About:Blank said...

I read this and think you are talking about me!

What I did was install a trash compactor and sign up for the every other week trash pick up service and saved big time.

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