Garbage

When I wrote my early Lent post, I said it was not about just giving up, but about giving OF and giving thanks.  (And by the way, I really missed that glass of wine with my pasta the other night.)

I try to make saying thanks a habit.  Maybe I overdo it, but it sure the heck doesn't hurt. There are so many people out there who DON'T get thanked.  There are too many people out there who DON'T say thank you.  (Seems like I've been droning this into my son's head since he was born! I hope it's working. It had BETTER be working!)  I truly believe that sincere appreciation and gratitude is something that is sorely lacking in our society.  While I can't change the world, I can make sure that my portion is properly appreciated and thanked.

To that end, I want to talk about garbage. 

Who likes garbage?  Ok, maybe Oscar the Grouch; he loves trash, but other than everyone's favorite Grouch,  does anyone actually like dealing with garbage?  I don't think so. (Go on, prove me wrong.)

In my town (or on my side of the town), the trash is picked up on Monday and Thursday mornings.  Which means late on Sunday afternoon or early Sunday evening, I gather up all the trash from the cans in the house. (There are a lot of trash baskets in small house.  The bathroom, the kid's room [which is getting fuller and grosser by the day], the office, our bedroom and of course, the giant can in the kitchen.)  There are usually multiple bags that I then take outside to the giant sized garbage can with wheels.  I roll the can around to the front of the house and then roll it back after the garbage men have come by.  I used to follow the same routine on Wednesday evenings, but since my town started accepting paper products (cardboard boxes, junk mail) along with newspaper recycling, I've found that we don't generate as much trash.  (Imagine that!)  Putting out the trash is one of my least favorite things to do. (Which is why I am going to try to transition this chore to my son...let's see how that turns out.)  It's made even worse by the fact that it signals to me the end of the weekend.

As much "fun" as it is to gather up and put out, I imagine the men (and women?) who do the pick-up have it even worse.  They are up early. (Even earlier than this early bird!) Often our trash pick-up comes before 7 AM.  They are out there in rain and snow.  They are out there during heat waves and brutal cold snaps.  (I particularly think of the one man who "rides" on the back of the truck. How wicked the wind must feel!  Rain pummeling down on you cannot be a nice experience.)  They deal with heavy items.  They deal with odors that I don't even want to imagine.  And yet, whenever I see my "regular guys" they are polite and smiling.  While I'm sure that's not always the case, it seems that way to me.

Sometimes I see "my guys" in the local bagel shop as I'm finishing up my daily walk or going to buy a newspaper.  I always say hi or wave.  They always respond in kind. The same can be said when I pass them on my way to work or after I have dropped off my son at school.  I wave; they wave.  Though we don't "know" each other, there is a kinship there.

At the end of the year/holiday time, I always try to catch them and give them a little something.  I know it's not enough.  For the strenuous job they do, how can it be?  But they always say thank you and have a smile for me.  I wonder how many other people take the time to "gift" their sanitation workers.

Speaking of holidays, they don't seem to get many.  Sure there is Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, etc.  but they are out there on President's Day and other "lesser" holidays.  Additionally, when they do get a holiday they have to make it up the next day by collecting for the whole town.

To those two men who regularly back down my block and pick up the trash; although you will probably never read this; thank you.  Thank you for doing a job that most us don't even think about.  An important job that none of truly appreciate; thank you.  Thank you.  Thank You!




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