Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Questionable Waste Disposal Decisions

I wrote not too long ago about the daily proliferation of trash on my street. Since then, I've been pretty good about picking up trash every day on the three or four blocks where I walk the VERY BAD DOG who does not deserve such long walks because he tried to attack my neighbor and routinely ignores me and pees on the kitchen floor whenever our backs are turned. Ahem.

Anyway, back to the trash. There has been a noticeable impact. Sure, people still throw crap on the ground. There are these candy wrappers, some kind of peanut butter chew or something, that appear daily. Then there are the random Schlitz Malt Liquor cans and McDonalds trash on Spring Road.

But by and large, I pick up less and less trash every day. Whereas I used to only concern myself with cans, bottles, and bags, now, there often aren't any of those. So I pick up smaller things, candy wrappers, sometimes cigarette butts, and even stuff in the street if street sweeping is not coming up soon.

11th St Litter 2N. thinks all this is hilarious and bought me a grabber-thingy called the Gopher 2 for picking up trash. This thing is awesome. Although I have been too embarassed to actually take it with me on the dog-walk and use it to collect trash yet, it has many other uses, including ass-grabbing, pet-teasing, and, for those who are not strong with The Force and may need such assistance, remote-control-gettting-while-reclined-on-couch.

So while my moonlighting as a garbage man is generally going well, there are three things that have appeared on my block lately that are somewhat baffling, and beyond the scope of my morning efforts.

1. The Television

Has now been on the sidewalk for about a month. Guess what? Nobody wants your 24 year old Goldstar television. That includes the trash men, a fact which should have been crystal clear after it remained on the sidewalk despite the trash cans being emptied, twice a week, for the last month.

11th St Litter 12. The Post Base

This has been sitting on the sidewalk for a LONG time. The guy on the corner redid his fence sometime in the distant past, like early summer or even spring. It's been there ever since. Now, generally, I can't complain about that house because they are good neighbors, keep things up, and I even saw him mowing the treebox once. ONCE.

Obviously, though, there is not a female in that household. Because while all dudes are born with the ability to selectively ignore things like this indefinitely, and indeed even convince themselves that the object in question is actually not there, the opposite happens for women. When there is something within the boundaries of their living space that should not be there, or is in the wrong place, it starts glowing around the edges, then becomes bright white, and finally screams at them like a dying banshee every time they see it. Which they in turn do to you. This I learned while I was married. No woman would permit that post to remain on their sidewalk for months. Clearly, the guy who lives there needs a girlfriend, and possibly a pickup truck.

11th St Litter 33. The Compost Pile/Rat Feeder

This is the most problematic of the three QWDDs (Questionable Waste Disposal Decisions). While the first two are annoying, I can (and perhaps will) take care of them myself either with a call to bulk pickup, or by throwing them in the back of my truck the next time I go to Fort Totten. But this one keeps recurring -- and, like that strange itch that you got after that drunken late-night hookup with "Marisa" or "Melisa" or whatever her name was, it's hard to get rid of without involving someone wearing a pair of rubber gloves.

Some person, or perhaps people, are dumping old food in the treeboxes. I suspect that they think they are feeding birds. I really do believe their motive is not absolute laziness since it's always old-looking food, often bread products. In the picture from this morning, it's moldy bagels. I picked them up. Someone saw me do it and thanked me.

But take a closer look at the television picture. That orange pile next to the TV is rice. That also appeared this morning. That's disgusting, and there's no way birds will eat it anyway. There has been rice in the past at the spot where I picked up the bagels. As well as a huge pile of bread, and sausages, and all sorts of crap. Someone either thinks that the treebox is some kind of miraculous garbage disposal, or that they really are doing a service to all the starving vermin in DC by dumping old food on the sidewalk.

Today was the first time I picked up the food pile (the bagels, I couldn't deal with the rice) because it's starting to happen more often. Maybe they will realize it's not cool when someone takes it every day. If not, then hopefully I will see them doing it and have have a frank discussion with them about rats and the purpose of trash cans and sewers. If that doesn't work, then that leaves me with only one alternative. No, I'm not talking about a stakeout with a camera, followed by public humiliation in the form of leaflets under the windshield of every car on the block.

I'm talking about the Real Genius punishment.

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