Garbage Day in Autumn
Thursday is garbage day. Garbage day is a big deal for the men in the neighborhood. Garbage men are real men with real trucks dealing in man things. With heavy machinery. Here in Ohio, the truck driver is also the garbage guy--one man to a truck. Plus, they take whatever you put on the curb--old furniture, dead water heaters, piles of bags of leaves (which I put out last week). Anything. The trucks here are equipped with a dumpster on a fork lift sort of thing in the front of the truck. The garbage man puts the stuff into the dumpster, then gets into the truck and operates the dumpster's fork lift thing (I really don't have a handle on the nomenclature here, if you didn't already know that) to toss the contents of the dumpster into the bowels of the truck. Wow, what an operation. I get up early enough on Thursday to watch the whole thing from my second floor bedroom window.
Back in California, we had sissies for garbage men--they didn't have to actually touch any nasty stuff. Their truck had a pincher thing on the side that grabbed the trash can (the can was also the property of the garbage company) then hoisted it into the truck. I actually had one garbage man in Bakersfield refuse to take a can because it was too close to a parked car. The guy couldn't be bothered to get out of his truck and haul the can the extra two feet into the street to avoid the parked car or actually guide his garbage truck to the garbage can. Sissies. I leave bags of putrified dog crap out for the guys here and they just take it in stride. Real men, if I haven't said that before. In California I'm absolutely certain that the garbage dude would have called the police or the EPA if he would have even suspected that there was dog crap in the can.
It's Autumn here, and we live in a wooded area, which means lots of leaves. Most people around here either hire a company to remove the leaves or have a riding lawn mower/leaf sucker combination. I don't have the machinery, and refuse to pay someone else to do this job, but we live on a little better than a half acre in town, and there are LOTS of leaves. That means LOTS of bags of leaves. My friend and neighbor down the street, Lonnie, usually goes out to actually help the garbage man with his trash. Like I've said, this garbage man business attracts men. So, as I later found out, last Thursday Lonnie heard the garbage truck backing down our dead-end street and went outside, as is his wont, to help the garbage man with his trash. He waited and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, they garbage man arrived at Lonnie's house and Lonnie asked him what had kept him.
Now, I'd been watching the garbage loading operation at MY house from my bedroom window for quite some time and the amount of leaf bags I'd accumulated filled the dumpster 3 times. What a load, right? Three times the dumpster had to be unloaded into the truck. I was proud of myself since there is an unofficial contest on this little street between the men seeing who can put out the most legitimate trash on Thursday morning, and I had clearly won this week.
The garbage man finally arrived at Lonnie's. "What kept you so long?" asked Lonnie. "You wouldn't believe it" said the garbage man, "there was a guy down the street with 70 bags of leaves--took me forever to load his stuff". "Oh, you mean Jim?" said Lonnie, screwing up my anonymity forever. In some communities where I've lived, you pay a fee directly to the garbage company, so they know who you are, but here in Ohio, the garbage collection fee is incorporated into the property taxes so the only way the garbage man will actually know who it is who's leaving the problem garbage out is if someone, like Lonnie, gives you up.
None of that matters in the big picture, though. I'll still get up early on Thursday to watch. It's still Autumn, and I have another 70 bags of leaves to put out