Trash Collection Day

By Melissa Grunow

June 29, 2015

Trash Collection Day

Every Friday morning in the summer I would sit on the carpet in front of the giant picture window facing the street and watch the trash collectors empty cans and toss bags into their giant truck. The window opened low to the floor, so I could sit cross-legged with my nose just above the sill, my eyes and forehead barely visible to the road stretched in front of me. From my quiet perch, I would marvel at how effortlessly the men would grab hold of a bin and swing it forward, dumping the entire contents of a week’s worth of trash over the metal ledge and out of sight, then drop the empty can back onto the tired grass. Lids would separate and skid into the street, resting on the curb or blow into the neighbor’s driveway on windy days. Everything from single bags to broken toys to old furniture to stained mattresses was hurled into the giant compactor that never seemed to run out of room.

When finished, the collectors would hop on the back and ride standing up to the next block, their dirty shirts and baggy pants billowing behind them. I longed to try it, just once, to know what it felt like to teeter on the ledge and cling to a single handle above my head, what it would feel like to be powerful enough to clear the neighborhoods of their own debris, then fly off waving to the silent cheering crowd.


Photo "The Trash Project" provided by Sara Robertson, via creative commons license.

Comments (6) - Post a Comment
The unique perspective on "trash day" is fantastic here!
Jody at 4:24pm EDT - June 29, 2015
I plan to go a copy of this Beautiful Thing to my trash collectors!
Deborah Burghardt at 4:58pm EDT - June 29, 2015
Great read!
Delora at 6:17pm EDT - June 29, 2015
You have captured a unique moment in time so beautifully. This is a story of my early life, but now they use automated trucks with only one driver and no one "waving" to the crowd.
Beth Howard at 6:49pm EDT - June 29, 2015
Thought provoking viewpoint. Loved it!
Crystal Kieloch at 9:13pm EDT - June 29, 2015
I liked this because it brought me back to my childhood in the late 50s, watching the men collect the trash in my own neighborhood! Thank you for that unlikely delight!
Lisa Duskin-Goede at 4:43am EST - November 17, 2015

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