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I’m in Love With the Trash Man

This year at gift giving time, I want to sing for an unsung hero. A guy who is reliable, strong, smart, a good listener and drives a big truck. Like the sheriff, he cleans up this town and makes it safe to walk the sidewalks and enjoy the fresh air.

He’s your neighborhood trash man. And I’m in love.

I’m not a respecter of persons. I love them all. If they made a Trash Man Calendar I would buy it and hang it in the garage. Probably turned to Mr. August.

The trash man will take anything you put in the can. ANYthing. I have, little bits at a time, gotten rid of old water heaters, furniture, kitchen remodel chunks, even concrete.

The greens guy unknowingly but very cheerfully removed an entire pool deck. I had to saw the pieces into 4’ lengths, but there it is. Super service.

Our recycle bin has held the remnants of every party we ever threw. Soda bottles and pizza boxes and colorful crepe paper streamers.

They all show up faithfully every Thursday.

They are the only thing standing between us and the dark ages.

I can go without a lot of modern conveniences, but plumbing and trash removal aren’t on that list.

I finally drove over to the disposal facility today. I don’t know why it took me months before getting around to it. I had a collection of half used paint cans that were considered hazardous waste.

You can’t just dump them in with your regular trash, you have to make an appointment to drop them off.

I felt just guilty enough to not sneak it in there anyways but just put out enough to procrastinate getting it over there.

I’m so spoiled.

It’s free of course, but you take a few minutes of your time to do it.

I sat in the line of cars waiting to drop off “hazardous waste” and watched the trash men empty each load. It was great fun.

They wore gloves and coveralls and tossed giant TVs, computer keyboards, empty propane cylinders, and…hey! that’s the exact same bread machine I have! The one that makes your loaves square instead of round. Someone tossed it? What a waste.

I mean…I guess waste is the idea here. Waste disposal. Got it. Don’t have to like it though.

Watching them work was like watching the Three Stooges pack for a move.

They were doing something I always thought would be fun: take that machine that just broke on me in the middle of something super important and THROW IT ACROSS THE PAVEMENT WATCHING IT BURST INTO TINY SHATTERED BITS OF SORRY.

And these guys are getting paid to do it. Awesome.

My little box of paint cans took them less than a minute to toss. I didn’t even get out of the car. What gentlemen. They were efficient, friendly and helpful. I felt like I needed to go home and find some more things for them to toss.

Driving back out through the facility, I discovered all of the amazing behind the scenes shenanigans. Trash trucks were emptying into large warehouses where trash was processed into further heaps.

Conveyor belts were moving recyclables three stories high and stacked all around were compacted bundles maybe five feet cubed: some were solid crushed milk jugs. This looked like art. White with bits of random color.

Other cubes were cardboard, packed so tightly they were reduced to card stock.

Soda cans were impossibly interlinked, a cube of shiny aluminum brilliance.

The smell was a wonderful pungent tart and sour thing you could almost taste.

But it only lasted a moment or two.

The helpful trash men were insisting that I move right along and for all I know, saving my life in the process.

I came away with two very relevant thoughts.

I am re-confirmed in my opinion that, in this large living America, less is very much more. So much of our trappings are disposable. Simply outdated, unused, or unloved.

Less things. Try not to have so much in the first place.

The recycle idea is wonderful. Re-gift. Re-purpose. Don’t toss it, see if someone else can use your bread machine. Shop at the thrift stores. Donate freely. Circulate your stuff.

Sharing is caring.

But you can buy me one of those calendars.

Published inLiving Larger

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