Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Future, My Boy? Plastics 3.09.04

I am finally in my bed, with my laptop in hand, a Fundamentals of Municipal Bonds book at my side. Nascar, I bet you and Eben think I don’t do any work. Triiiick! It’s 2.03 in the AM and I am going to tell you a little bit about recycling in my neighborhood before I go to sleep.

Now, for weeks we have been trying to get a blue 30-gallon container of plastic recyclable goodies out on the sidewalk so the fine people at NYC’s Department of Sanitation can pick it up. Yet every time we do it in a logical sense—the Tuesday morning we are used to—it remains, through the day, into the next, neglected. Filling. Too high now for the can to properly close. Don’t tell anyone… but I have taken to throwing some recyclables in with the regular trash. Shh. I know where you e-mail.

For my part, I really should have tried to call someone at Sanitation or at 311 and be like, “when is this pickup, snatch?” But like Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part. So hard, so daunting, I’d rather not do waste that time, so to speak.

I had watched a little bit of Gonzaga’s conference final for inspiration and information, in part because I am going back to work on the sports web log (and the short story web log too), and in part because procrastination has been the business for a couple of… years… like I am doing now. But in a fit of pasta-stuck-in-tummy, I stayed awake and made some notes for my paper, skimmed undone reading, and heard the familiar whirring drone down the block—

And it’s too late for anything to make that much noise besides—


Out of my pajama pants and into a pair of worn Banana Republic chinos, an embarrassing fact only offset by the fact that these pants are four years old, faded, and back in their original heap over my chair. The hoodie covered my top. Old socks. Track-style Pumas. And out with tonight’s garbage, too.

The truck was revving up and about to tear past 7 houses who had not yet put out their recycling. The air was crisp and not as cold as I expected. My heart was up and going. The mist fell on the grass. The driveway, deeper beige and the concrete sidewalks, gray with wetness.

I saw them about to race past and I raced the truck to a spot on the edge of our property. Held them with a hand and a yell just loud enough to notice. And back to the side of the house, hustling a can full of juice and milk containers, glass pasta bottles, various containers, with a little stink on them. In the hustle my ankle turned a little—the pumas are not the best for ankle support and I have ankles like a chicken. But it was all gravy; I stood and watched as the pile of plastic met its second-to-last resting place, mashed into a mass, left side of the recycling truck. Relishing the cold air. A spontaneous sprint well done.

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