Wednesday: Portapotty Day

Little known but thrilling fact: Wednesdays are trash pickup days in my neighborhood. We also get yard alternating yard waste and recycling service, so every other Wednesday we get to put out glass and recyclables, followed by giant yard waste containers the next week. I've got to give the contractors who handle our neighborhood credit: they're reliable, courteous, and they can turn those giant trucks on a hairpin to get around parked cars, traffic circles, and tight turns.

We're supposed to have our containers out on the curb by 7 AM on Wednesdays. That's a little early for many people, so lots of folks put their containers out the night before. But not me. The first time I set out containers on a Tuesday night, I woke Wednesday morning to find they'd been kicked over and their contents strewn across the street, sidewalk, and yard, then crows had torn open plastic bags and were picking through everything they could, hoping for some delicious morsel, I suppose.

And it was one of those chilly, rain-soaked, lovely Seattle mornings.

So I put the cans out on Wednesday mornings. Sometimes it happens before 7 AM, sometimes not, but they're generally at the curbside no later than 8 AM, come rain, shine, sleet, or snow (even though, in the event of snow, the trash pickup people don't generally brave the hill). Our pickup crews are pretty reliable: trash pickup usually gets here by 11AM, and yard waste or recycling can land anywhere between about 11 AM and 3 PM.

Today was one of those mornings I didn't quite make the 7 AM curb time. I was up in the office checking on email and slapping around a recalcitrant server when, at 7:08 AM, I hear a large diesel vehicle pull up out front. Puzzled, I look outside and see…a garbage truck! Crap! I haven't even collected up the household trash, let alone set it out to the curb. Although this week I get a reprieve from yard waste since all I've managed to do is pull some nascent blackberry vines from the garden—that's not a collection emergency.

Just as I'm starting to wonder how feasible it is to skip a week's worth of garbage collection, I notice the truck is merely parked with its engine running. There's no trash collection going on: the behemoth is just sitting there, and the driver is still in the cab. I start to wonder if maybe he's talking with his dispatcher or something.

Then, suddenly, the driver hops out of the cab uses the controls on the side of the truck to open the truck's bin. Hydraulics compress the load, then withdraw, exposing the truck's grisly interior. From my home office window, I can see right down into its gullet.

Then the driver hops up to the opening, looks up and down the street and, seeing no one, unzips his pants and urinates into the back of the garbage truck. A moment later, he's shaking off, zipping up, and hopping back into the cab. Then the engine revs and the garbage truck takes off.

No, he didn't wash his hands before returning to work.

I guess it's better than the folks who wander down the street during, say, the annual antique auto show, and take a leak in the yard. Or the ones who kick over the trash can and scatter garbage up and down the street.

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