Sunday, May 3, 2009

Big Trash Day ’09

Thursday, April 30, was Big Trash Day on our street. Once a year the city and the garbage company have a citywide big-trash pickup they call the “Spring Clean-Up.” They publicize it in the papers and everything.

According to the city’s Web site, here is what they would pick up:

Large bulky items (in 2007 the city announced this includes “vacuums, tables, sofas, chairs, and chester drawers”) (sic)
Tied bundles of scrap material under 4 ft.
Household garbage in Allied Waste blue carts or Allied Waste clear, printed trash bags

Here is what they would not pick up:

Plastic bags of debris, trash or garbage
Boxes of debris, trash or garbage
Yard waste
Lumber or guttering over 4 ft.
Rocks, bricks, concrete
Waste oil
Car parts
Acid batteries

Basically it’s everyone’s big chance to get rid of dead microwaves, stained, skank sofas, white-elephant window air conditioners, broken stereo cabinets, excess rotting lumber, boxes of rags and broken toys, etc. Yes, I said boxes. Look at my pictures and note how many things got picked up that weren’t supposed to, according to the rules. I’m so glad they picked up all this boxed and bagged and oversized stuff anyway; it saved us from having the neighbors try to burn it in their backyard.

It’s amazing how these houses spew forth all this just . . . crap. One of our “neighbors” (nonresident owners of a house that’s been vacant for at least a decade) finally took the opportunity to start emptying all the junk that remained in the house after his dad passed away (again, a decade ago). I swear: The entire sidewalk in front of the house was filled with rubble. It was a pile that eventually stacked up against the terrace. It looked like an avalanche of junk.

Of course, with my revised perspective post-Arkansas, I realize I should be grateful that JC at least has this annual event: Otherwise, all this trash would end up down a ravine somewhere out in the county, or else take up permanent residence in people’s front yards. Yee-haw.

Because the city doesn’t say which specific day they’ll be by to pick up the stuff, we only know which week they’ll be coming by. In this case, our half of town was supposed to have the pickup begin as soon as 5 a.m. Monday. And the trash had been accumulating for at least an entire week prior to that.

And it’s been raining. And it’s been warm. And then raining again. Ew.

But here’s the funny thing: People are going out trolling through the junk piles. Some people come by in pickups and with trailers, taking specific items like microwaves or air conditioners. Or old lawnmowers. Or old furniture. I think they intend to try to salvage it.

Others come by with the whole family, and the whole clan pokes through the rubble like they’re at a garage sale where everything’s miraculously free. Kids play in the street with raggedy, soggy toys and on bikes too small or falling apart. Women pick through damp boxes and hold up garments. The daddies search for whatever treasures they’re into. It’s kind of funny, kind of sad.

As Sue pointed out: Trolling through the trash on our street is doggone pathetic, since most of it wasn’t new to begin with. People on our street probably found their furniture and stuff in last year’s spring clean-up! We agreed that we would both be tempted to go trolling through, say, the Constitution Drive neighborhood, a doctor-and-lawyer neighborhood, where people are probably throwing out brand-new stuff they’ve never even used. Old-style Blackberries and hopelessly out-of-date Kindle 1’s. (One man’s trash . . .)

Anyway, after almost two whole weeks of having the sidewalks buried in greasy, skank rubble, and having nightly trollers driving by slowly, peering intently at the filthy piles, a series of garbage trucks came Thursday afternoon and took it all away.

There were three garbage trucks for our block: I kid you not.


JaneL said...

Oh wow! We have a cleanup day here too, but I've never seen an accumulation like that. But just think, that much junk is gone from your street and thus no longer subject to being left lying around in hards. The bear photo is priceless.

Julie said...

Well, I had to stand up the little dude for the picture (I think it was a monkey--a dour little monkey). I'm a huge softie about stuffed animals, old worn-out ones. It's something about how some innocent, trusting child imbued the thing with love, personality, friendship. It breaks my heart when they are abandoned, set out for the trash. On a happier note (?) this stuffed critter had disappeared long before the trash truck came. So maybe it found a home.

JaneL said...

Aha! Of course it's a monkey. And of course some of the most famous pictures ever taken were staged. I hope it found a good home too.