Sunday, May 15, 2011

Trash lady.

We live in a townhouse community that faces a two-lane road that gets a fair amount of traffic, as it leads to several marinas and other communities beyond our own.  It's a pretty road, lined with a mix of new and old trees, and sidewalks on both sides.  Rob and I partake of the sidewalks whenever we are feeling particularly fat and have the motivation to get out and move.  Since living here, six years or so, I have spent many more hours sitting on my "stoop" watching the world go by.  We see lots of people pushing strollers, running with dogs, even the odd skate boarder, and my personal favorite: those ridiculous little bicycles that fold up (boaters love those things).  After a while, one guy stood out, because he would walk down the road with a big bag picking up trash.  I first noticed him several years ago and my first thought was probably "oh, he's THAT guy."  You know, the one who is the president of the HOA, the persnickety old fart whose all up in everyone's business.  Over time, my view softened.  Perhaps maturity set in for me?  I'd like to hope so.  After a while I looked forward to seeing him pass by, earnestly picking up the trash along our shared road.  A few months ago I mentioned to Rob I hadn't seen him lately, and Rob indicated he hadn't either.  I was a little sad.

In the last year I have gotten much more eco-minded.  Now, this isn't just a tangent, I will swing back around and pick up with the first paragraph in a little bit.  I promise.  Our community has a private firm that does our trash, but they don't have a recycling program (for shame!!!), which drives me nuts.  Our town has a great recycling program, and you can pretty much recycle any damn thing you can get your mitts on.  Since I am all about organizing things into categories, and have a new-ish found appreciation for Mother Earth, this appeals to me on a very basic level:  trash vs recyclables.  I am also very much a person of "all or nothing".  The only things leaving this house as trash are food I can't fit down the garbage disposal (think large boned animals) or compost and maybe some paper products, like a paper towel or napkin.  Our new trash can for inside is our old kitchen composter, a can that is about the size of a small bathroom trash can.  We take trash out maybe once a week.

So what to do with the stuff I recycle?  Well, I was hauling it every Wednesday night to a friend that lives in city limits.  Every week we'd go to Bingo, I'd dump my recycling bin on her sidewalk.  Problem was both Rob and are are terrible about picking things up.  Ask the Korean lady who owns the dry cleaners we use.  So one week while out actually walking our neighborhood we realized we had a spot to dump our recycling bin in our own backyard.  A bank of mailboxes, like you see on rural roads...quite the anomaly where we live, sat an empty recycling bin.  We cased that bin for a few weeks.  Seems the owners filled it up, just never moved the bin.  So Rob now drives our bins to it, which is probably illegal.  Ssssshhhhhh.

After we scouted out our new recycling spot, I realized how much shit was all up and down this little road.  I had a small plastic grocery bag with me, so I started picking up trash.  Within a 100 feet my bag runneth over.  Egad.

And thus began my new career as trash police.  Each Sunday I have taken Cam and a kitchen trash bag and headed out to the big two-lane road and pick up whatever I can find.  I guess I am now that persnickety old lady who notices which neighbors live like pigs, and which keep their areas tidy.  I keep waiting for some smart-ass teenager to blow past me and throw their Slurpee cups at me, or lit cigarettes.


  1. Our road is filled with trash, too. It's especially bad considering we live on a tiny dirt road without much traffic and only a few houses.

  2. It just boggles my mind how much trash accumulates week to week. As you say, when you live on a small road with little traffic, it's just incredible. I have to admit, my mind goes to some very dark places when I am picking up litter in front of the same places over and over...