Little did I know growing up, that garbage would become an intimate part of my life. As I sit at the computer on this beautiful fall morning, I contemplate the garbage cans listing back and forth at the end of our driveway. It was furiously windy last night and I had the specter of the lids of the cans unhinged and flying in the breeze overturning the cans and spewing effluence across the lawn of our condo development.
At eleven o’clock last night, I put on my trusty windbreaker, cut two pieces of duct tape and proceeded to tape the lids closed. I wonder now, as I see the cans standing tall, if the garbage collectors will frown on my closed cans and not open them to dispose of the trash. Maybe I should go out and take the tape off and let the wind have its way.
I had already taken in the recyclables. They are in a boxy kind of receptacle and would have surely blown away to kingdom come. I do not use that word indiscriminately. We did have a former container disappear from in front on our house never to be found again. Even the detritus was gone and not strewn around. I still think about that morning when I actually drove my car around the development and found nothing. I can hardly think that there are recyclable thieves in the neighborhood.
Ever since I moved into an individual house in 1966, trash has been a somewhat controversial part of our lives. There were many rules about how to dispose of it. In those days, there were warnings about flushing paper diapers down the toilet. You could not put certain things on the curb for fear that the collectors would not take it. I was fearful that the garbage police would see that I had set out some non-takable item and send me off to garbage school.
The advent of plastic bags made both an improvement and an inconvenience to the process of garbage disposal. Before there were strings to tie up the bags, there were those little metal things that you had to be careful of. They would shed their paper coverings and you could impale yourself on the wire. I did that a few times, even used rubber bands once in a while.
The question of actually putting out the plastic bags themselves, or putting them in a can baffles people. There are two schools of thought even today. The first is the economy of not having to buy garbage cans. The second is the idea that some forlorn animal, whether a deer, a bird, a raccoon, a squirrel or pardon this last one, a rat, might find some substantial morsel hidden in the middle of the garbage. As it happens, the garbage then is laid to waste on your street, in your neighbor’s lawn or driveway, or in the middle of the street for cars to drive around. My current neighbor is a physician and he prefers the plastic garbage bags which he somehow gets from some sort of medical service.
We have always had the problem of when the garbage is collected. For the past forty seven years. If the collection is on a Friday, what happens when Friday is a holiday? What happens when there is a holiday on one of the other weekdays? Do we then go one day ahead with our putting out our trash? Every community that we have lived in had differing rules. I sometimes put out garbage on days when there was no collection, and left them there till it was collected, sometime as long as a week later. I will never understand that rule.
Many communities have a place to throw large objects, like old TV’s, sewing machines, couches and such. In some places, you can call the authorities and tell them that you are putting them at the curb. Many communities frown on that because they do not want to fill their trucks with large objects. There is also the problem of passersbys, who might stop their cars and trucks and just take the object. This might cause traffic tie-ups.
I just try and follow the rules laid out in the community calendars that you get each year. Some calendars even have collection days marked on them. There is always a phone number you can call to get your garbage questions answered. I am always pleased with that helpful notation. It shows that the community is aware of possible garbage problems and is always there to help. Thank heavens.