Friday, August 26, 2011
Today is Friday. If you happen to be one of the millions of people who work five days a week, this could be a great day or a pain in the butt. It could be the end of a long week and you can't wait for it to end, or it might be the start of the weekend and you also can't wait for it to end. For me, Friday is just another day. When the fishing season is open, all the days are pretty much the same. Most fishermen don't take any particular day off usually. I'm off today, but not by choice. The weather is pretty blustery, so fishing isn't really an option. I hope that it calms down by tomorrow. The season is winding down and I don't want to miss too many days because of weather. For me, Fridays have a different meaning all together. Around here, Friday is garbage day. As you can imagine, getting rid of your accumulated trash is of utmost importance. In fact, one of the last things Jan tells me on Fridays isn't " I love you" or "Have a good day" it's-"Don't forget to take out the trash." I'm a little perplexed by the fact that you can sit down and eat a delicious meal and yet fifteen minutes later,anything left on the plate of that same food that you couldn't wait to devour, is now garbage. When we lived on the farm we had a friend, a charming Southern lady, who was picking up the plates to take in to the dish washing station. She became so engrossed in talking to someone that she unconsciously started picking uneaten food off the various plates and nibbling on it. I'm not sure at what point she realized what she was doing, but I guess it's not really garbage until it's tossed into the trash can. For some unknown reason a garbage collector has been one of those jobs that has been looked down on. When I was a kid and got lousy grades in school my mom would ask me if I wanted to be a garbage man when I grew up. Apparently only ignorant buffoons could be garbage men. If I had thought about it for a minute I might have said yes, I did want to be one. You always have work, the pay and benefits are good and you're outdoors all the time. Of course answering in the affirmative would probably have gotten me a good smack in the mouth, so I always mumbled no. I actually was a garbage man for a day. On one of our many trips to Juneau to the maternity ward, a friend who worked for the local garbage collection service needed a hand. We loaded the garbage truck on a barge and were towed to a cruise ship to collect their goodies. I was amazed at the number of wine bottles, lobster tails and hollowed out melon skins came off that ship. Frankly, rich folks garbage stinks! In any event, the pay was good and it was a learning experience. Somewhere in our vast collection of pictures, we have one of the boys in their pajamas walking out to the garbage truck with plastic bags of trash. It was the highlight of their week to be able to toss the bags into the back of the truck. Walter Jewel has been driving the truck for fifteen years and plans to retire next year. It's a long time to do something that many people wouldn't even consider as a career. So next time you see your local trash collector, give them a thumbs up, or maybe even offer a cup of coffee. The job they do is invaluable and they deserve a word of thanks now and then.