Change of Season
Fall is upon us. Kids are back in school and we’re back to fighting with the school-bus drivers trying to mow us down in the morning. Always an adventure. I liken it to being on a nascar track trying to cross during a full blown race.
It would certainly help if my partner would just cut the damn street off so me and the other guy lifting the garbage wont become hood ornaments but hey, the motorists come first. I’m especially fond of the people who pull their car up on your ankle like thats gonna make us work faster. Uh, no buddy. That will only make me work slower and may lead to the possibility of you getting yanked out your car by your neck. #justsaying.
The majority of people understand we’re just trying to do our job, and I do my best to accommodate traffic by waving people on when we get a chance. There’s just that one asshole that’s flailing his or her (yes, you ladies) arms, honking the horn and yelling to get around us who ruins it for everybody.
Anyway, fall also brings the change of weather. Or at least it used to. It’s still in the mid-60’s and that sucks for most garbagemen due to the fact we’re constantly moving so we get hot quick. Ideal weather for us 40’s and 50’s. Me, the colder the better. I’m still in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.
The leaves are blooming rapidly, and with that comes another added variable. Composting season. Fuck. My 2 routes in particular are considered “country”, as the pickup stops are privately owned homes and all they seemingly want to do now is put out leaves, brush and grass. Don’t you people eat ?
Wednesday is the start of composting season. (Fuck). So not only do we have to complete 2 routes of recyclables, we have to go back and pick up the leaves and compost afterwards. To add insult to injury, the forecast includes a windswept rainy “noreaster”, and guess what ? Paper recyclables. Fun.
The Garbageman Chronicles
Ahhhh. So I’m here. I’ve arrived at the entrance ramp to the blogging/social media interstate. Where will it take me ? Where will it take you ?
Well, for starters. I’m a 13 year solid waste professional/environmental maintenance worker…Look, I’m a garbageman. Period. I work for a fairly large municipality in the suburbs of NY. We are (*COUGH!) Union organized, enjoy a pretty good benefits package and make a semi-livable wage.
I like what I do. It’s a job most people thumb their noses at but one I happen to take pride in. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can be a garbageman. We’re out there. 5 days a week. Rain, sleet, snow, tornado, blistering heat, you name it. Used to be the postal services “unofficial” creed but they didn’t take into account email leading to their demise. I’ll tell you one thing. There will always be garbage.
Theres $$$ in them there cans. Between certain metals, appliances, electronics and miscellaneous junk you throw out, we can make some extra bank out there. There is certainly truth to the adage “One mans trash is another mans treasure”. I wont get into certain side-jobs like demo removal and other contractor material that we (*COUGH!) don’t take. Not to mention the much appreciated holiday “gratuity” we get from residents, this can turn into a halfway decent gig some days.
And some days can be pure hell. Doing three loads after a holiday, trashcans crawling with so many maggots it threatens to walk itself away, getting chemicals sprayed in your eyes, cuts from glass, needles and anything sharp you can think of, overzealous motorists engaging in attempted vehicular homicide just because they were supposed to be there yesterday but woke up today. All of that combines to make this a pretty interesting job.
So, I thought I’d document some of it. Share a few thoughts, experiences. We all aren’t just some “dumb-ass garbagemen” . Half of these guys would run in your house to give your dying husband cpr. (Which I’ve witnessed with my own eyes). We watch your kids grow up, we flirt with the opposite sex and stop traffic for old ladies. We are the strongest. Hop on the step and get dirty.