Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'm keeping my fingers crossed this week.

In my newspaper column this week I wrote the following:

Now the bulk of religious Americans believe in only one God, but sometimes I think we divide our deity of choice into subsets.

Certainly as students we sent prayers to the subset in charge of final exams, SATs and prom date answers. As adults we cluster our requests around getting a warning from the cop who stopped us instead of a ticket; making sure that drink we had at lunch doesn't put us asleep at 3 p.m.; and hoping the IRS doesn't realize we're sending our taxes a day late.

Well, I send prayers to the part of the Almighty who is charge of garbage pickup in the city of Springfield. Granted, that must be a very small part of the Supreme Being's attention, but for my wife and I it is a very important part.

My wife is the world's great recycler. She actively looks for refuse to sort into one of the four bins we have on the back porch. She carefully washes the cans and jars so the two opossums who like to forage in our back yard aren't tempted to go through the cans. She checks the bottom of plastic containers to make sure it is the type of plastic that can be recycled.

But getting rid of this stuff hasn't always been easy. And that leads me to believe perhaps we aren't praying hard enough.

We have no problem with the priests of the other trash deities. The acolytes of the Being That Is The Big Green Can take our offerings regularly and on time. Their colleagues serving the Bulk Pickup God always take our dead sofas, broken tables and cat-clawed chairs as long as we make the right monetary donation to their cause.

It is Those Who Serve Recycling with whom we have problems.

For a while we couldn't get them to pick up our stuff, even though they were picking up the cans, bottles and paper from the few other neighbors who were recycling as well. I made an inquiry and was told we weren't separating the trash properly. I was puzzled how we were to separate items in a single container and decided it had to be a Divine Mystery.

Instead of pondering that riddle, we acquired containers for each class of recyclable and every other week we bring out our bounty of offerings.

Only this past time, we were passed over.

Our neighbors with their single boxes were collected and my wife and I wondered just who we had offended: the Recycling Deity or his servants.

We brought our offerings back from the curb after waiting two days for a special pick-up but it was useless. In order to hold the next two week's quantity I bought more containers, each in the proper blue color with the holy triangle on them.

So my question to the Springfield Church of the DPW is what have we done wrong? We sort. We have separate bins and yet our offering was rejected.

I pray for answers.

Now this time I've once again carefully separated the trash I can recycle into its own bin. In fact we bought a new bin to handle the four week's worth of items.

Now we wait.

For those of you who don't live in Springfield, you need to understand that you can be fined if you don't recycle. The DPW trash police slaps a sticker on your big green can proclaiming your violation. Mayor Domenic Sarno wants to the city to increase its paltry eight percent recycling rate. I'm all in favor of getting that participation up as it's good green policy and it can make the city some money.

However if I don't get my stuff picked up this week I will either have to buy more containers or throw the stuff into the trash. Well, at the very least I will be calling to the DPW and screaming at someone.

I'll keep you posted.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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