My Latest Observation

All right, let’s talk some trash.

Mind you, this isn’t the type of trash talk that takes into question the honor and integrity of your sister or the aesthetic traits of your mother.  This isn’t the trash talk which is finished off with the phrase “You just got served”, or “Oh, you’ve just been told.”

Nope.  I’m talking about 100% pure trash.  The flotsam and jetsam of our lives which we discard with reckless abandon to the front curb on various days of the week for it to be hauled off by one of the winners of the city’s annual lottery which awards a position within the municipality collecting trash for a decent hourly wage.

At this point, you may be wondering why I even bother taking up the valuable web space which resides here on TharpSter.Org to talk about trash of all things.  If you are wondering that, then I can only surmise that you haven’t read much of what I have to say before today.  Don’t worry though, because I’ll indulge you a bit.  Those of you who visit here on a regular basis and absorb what seems like a whole lot of aimless wandering in my writing already know that I will eventually get to my point.

I’m talking about trash today for two reasons.  First of all, I am compelled by New Year TharpSterLution #7 to double down on what I publish this year.  Now you may assume that in order to achieve that particular goal, I’m going to post any piece of crap that comes to mind out here on the web with the specific intent of putting up quantity over quality.  The jury is still out on whether your assumption is correct.  There is some pretty abstract and goofy stuff that rifles back and forth between my ears.  Whereas getting it out on the web for everyone to see offers some interesting possibilities, I’ll limit the audience to my perpetual, forehead slapping epiphanies to the notes section on my new iPod Touch.

The second reason I’m talking trash today involves the fact that I have a propensity for noticing the strangest things.  Recall, if you will, that it was me who called attention to a recall for athletic cups at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  No one else was very forthcoming for pointing out the amusement of it all, so I felt that it was up to me to man up and call it out.

That being said, I’ll resume with my trash talk.

Here in San Antonio, sales numbers for outdoor trash cans have plummeted for the last few years.  Retail giants such as Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, Home Depot, and Lowe’s have had to resort to selling a variety of other products in order to stay in business and make up for the substantial revenues they used to enjoy as a result of citizens of the Alamo city needing a place to put their junk.

Sometime during the Hardberger administration, the decision was made to cut costs by changing how our trash is collected.  Whereas before trash on my street was picked up by a guy driving a truck (aka –  the daily winner) and two guys riding the back, doing the lifting and throwing, the city decided that the same amount of work could be done by one guy driving a truck.  At the same time, the city instituted a recycling program which allowed for all of our plastics, papers, and aluminum to be picked up on a regular basis as well.  The city was able to do this by issuing each house a set of trash cans which could be picked up by a truck outfitted with a claw to grab the container, lift and dump it, and put it back down.  Each house received a black bin for trash, and a blue bin for recyclables.  The only things residents have to do is put their refuse in the correct bin, and get it to the curb on their designated day.

To think about it, the city of San Antonio was well behind the curve in making the decision to take the streamlined route of trash collection.  Many years ago, while growing up in Casper, Wyoming, we had a similar system without the recycling component in the picture.  That’s right people.  One of the most memorable items about my upbringing in Wyoming was the trash collection system.

For those of you who have never been there, Casper is a pretty windy town.  I imagine it’s due to it’s positioning within the valley of a mountain, but that’s only a guess.  None the less, the wind is pretty irritating.  The reason I bring up the wind is because of its love/hate relationship with the trash collection system.  Windy days and trash days never mix well.  When I was in Casper, you could drive down any street on any day and find no less than five dumpsters that had been blown over, only to have their contents littering the surrounding yards and sidewalks.  The reason for this is because the bins had no way of latching shut.

Finally one day, a resident who had become sick and tired of chasing his trash dumpster and its treasure down the street took matters into his own hands.  In the early morning hours one day, he took his dumpster full of the good stuff down to city hall, and left it on the steps at the front door.  He set it upright, with the lid closed, and then left.  Within a matter of hours, the Casper winds had knocked that bad boy over and spread trash all over the place.

Today, I’m sure any other city would have completely missed the point and would have subsequently identified the culprit and charged him with littering. The city of Casper in the late 80’s got the message.  Within weeks, they had special latches attached to all dumpsters.  These latches successfully kept the lids closed whenever the wind knocked the dumpsters over.

Look at that, I jumped on a tangent about trash.  Let’s get back to the San Antonio trash collection system.  For the record, the wind is not bad enough here for us to worry about latches.

I frankly have no problem with this system of collection.  Currently my only real issue with trash collection is that fact that when I tell my son to take the kitchen trash out, he always forgets to put a new liner in the basket.  Maybe I should leave it at his bedroom door.

So even though I have no problem with the city’s new system of trash collection, someone obviously does.  There’s a house down the street which appears to have discontinued putting the blue or black bins out at the curb on our designated days.  Why this is the case is truly beyond me.

The funny thing is what is going on instead of moving bins to the curb.  It started sometime around Thanksgiving of this last year when the homeowner (or renter maybe?) laid out some tarp like device on their yard, and then started putting their trash on it.  The city does have a biannual rubbish pick up for tree branches, appliances, and other trash turned treasure like items, but the appearance of the pile happened months after the last rubbish event.

What’s even stranger is the fact that the pile does not even look big enough to be holding nearly two months of trash.  That being said, what’s the deal with this pile of trash?  Is it a protest against the current system like the one that took place in Casper, Wyoming all those years ago?  Is it a political statement?  Are they trying to get a homeowners association installed in this area?  I can only guess.

None the less, the pile continues to stay there.  I would bet it will be there for another four to five months until our next rubbish pick up.  Before that happens, I’ll be sure to submit a picture of the pile to Google Earth.  Anytime someone punches up the address of this trash pile on that application, they can follow the link to see a picture of the pile taken by yours truly.

In the meantime, the only thing I can tell you at this point is that there will be more to come as developments arise.

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

One thought on “My Latest Observation

  1. My neighbor across the street did the same thing. Their huge pile of tree branches and other trash items stayed out front of their house for 6 months until the next city pick up. It was aweful, and an eyesore. I almost called the city to complain, but didnt want to be a bother.. but I was wondering also if it was a protest….
    Good story!

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