My Trash Bin

recycle-canEvery Wednesday evening, shortly before twilight, a cloud of dust churns down our road.

As it approaches our yard, it whirls to a stop, sniffs around at the end of the driveway then pounces on our trash container.

The poor little guy shrieks as the cloud thrashes it about and moments later his battered remains spin into our yard as the cloud thunders off down the road on its ravenous quest for more garbage.

Things used to be far more sedate.

Not that long ago, a guy named Otis Svengold stopped by our house every Thursday morning to pick up the trash. He never hurried, rather he would lean against his old Ford truck as it dozed in our driveway and ramble on about neighborhood gossip. Otis knew everything about everybody, and everybody knew everything about Otis – or so it seemed.

Until our county mailed us a shocking expose on Otis.

We were informed that he was unworthy of our garbage. Unbeknownst to us, Otis was a trash poacher.  A man who brazenly hauled garbage across county lines to an incinerator a few miles away

In Almost Iowa, we do not take things like this lightly because trash is a serious business. Other than farming, it’s about the only business we have.

What’s worse we were told – is because of poachers like Otis, our county incinerator is forced to eek out a marginal existence on the meager pickings of half the county.

Our county elders had decided to locate our incinerator at the opposite end of the county because they intended to poach the trash of a large city immediately across the border – but when their county board caught wind of it, they built their own.

Now our poor little dear goes hungry.

So to feed our burner, the county is chasing off poachers like Otis and has contracted a vast fleet of trucks to transport trash to an incinerator forty miles away.  It is the sort of logic that could only make sense to a bureaucrat.

Because the economics of trash hauling have been totally screwed up, the trucks must make as many stops as possible – which means that each customer’s allotment of garbage is strictly rationed.

So every Wednesday evening at dusk, a tiny top-heavy cart teeters in the wind at the end of our driveway.  It desperately clutches its meager offerings of a half bag of garbage as a murderous cloud of dust ominously tracks its way across the prairie.

After the cloud thunders away, I take the rest of the refuse out to the curb and leave it there for Otis, who comes softly and stealthily in the night.

Author: Almost Iowa

24 thoughts on “My Trash Bin”

  1. Yup. This is a GREAT story. Glad you highlighted it in Dysfunctional Literacy.
    I gotta know… what’s the trash situation now (2 years later)? It would be hilarious of Otis was still making the rounds

  2. In honor of Otis Svengold, I read the post with a Svedish accent, yah. I’m a-thinking that we need a National Otis Svengold Day. Whacha thinking ’bout dat? It could be a celebration of all those unsung heroes dat do not get their due.

  3. You know what they say, you can’t keep a good Otis down — especially if he’s an elevator.
    Excellent read. I agree with the “flow” comment.

  4. Another great post stimulating a skip down memory lane. I don’t remeber our trash haulers name, but Otis would have suited him perfectly.

    Bureaucracy may rule but where there’s a will (you and Otis and stealth in the night), there’s a way.

    1. We will have to talk to Pam Brittan. Maybe she will put together another book. It would be great to round up the old Gather gang and see what they are doing.

  5. I agree with Mike above. You are an excellent writer and I look forward to your posts. As to the trash, I was clueless to all the machinations behind the scenes in garbage disposal until reading about the trucks and trains which haul Manhattan’s trash to North Carolina.

    1. I just wish people would stop giving us so much trash. Every day our mailbox is stuffed with offers we can’t use and don’t want. Whenever we buy a minor appliance, it is always a major effort to get rid of the packaging. We keep Otis busy.

      1. Entire agree with you on that. While disliking all those TV-advertising class-action-hungry lawyers, I keep thinking this is a class-action lawsuit of some sort waiting to happen–this stuff not only reeks of chronic harassment, but surely has got to violate some environmental law somewhere (the latter bothering me far more).

  6. This is written in that immaculate ‘talking to the reader’ style of the classic American writers of old. I shall get the missus to have a read! Splendid.

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