Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Human beings: still quirky

So, yeah, Toronto's having a municipal workers' strike, the most visible manifestation of which is that garbage isn't being collected (I feel bad calling it "the garbage strike" when hundreds of other city workers are on the picket lines, too). But really, the garbage thing can take over your mind when you stroll certain parts of the city these days.

The funniest thing is, if you look at the picture at the link above, you see that though we are deprived of workers to collect trash and take it to the dump, citizens are not willing to a) hang on to their own garbage and take it to the dump themselves nor b) fling things on the ground and admit to being litterbugs. No, we carefully carry our half-eaten sandwiches and empty coffee cups to a not-in-use-but-overflowing-anyway garbage bin, and lay the trash on the ground in front of it, as if it were a shrine.

I admit, this was something I was doing too in the early days of the strike--I actually attempted to shove a little ice-cream cup into a bin, picked it up when it fell down and tried again until I suceeded. Then, after a few days and some bold new odours, I realized: putting trash anywhere it's not attended to, even it is someplace where it *used* to be attended to, is still littering. I would never just toss a pop bottle in the road--heaven forfend--but the pop bottle I leave sitting in front of one of those big silver bins is going to blow away and roll right into the road, or maybe someone's flowerbed. Some private business have bins out front that they are attending to, and some mutant very posh neighbourhoods seem to have set up some sort of watch, but in general, you just can't throw things away on the street right now.

It's hard to reprogram (and even harder to carry a used Kleenex across town) but garbage bins aren't garbage bins right now. It's an ontological crisis, but the practical fallout is that I am going to take responsibility for myself and my ice-cream cups.

Sorry for the rant. I had a particularly Oreo-bag and pizza-box intensive walk this morning.

Tears the size of Texas / drying all around her neck

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