I’m environmentally sensitive. Like most thinking people, I practice the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle. But my favorite R is the fourth one: Relocate.
We have lots of trees, flowers and wide open spaces out in the country where I live. What we DON’T have is trash pickup.
All you city slickers have to do to get rid of trash is gift-wrap it in scented pink bags, stroll 10 feet out the front door and rest it gently on the curb. The Trash Fairies magically whisk garbage away while you sleep. Living in the sticks we follow the same rules as when hiking in a national park; if you bring it in, you have to carry it out …on your back.
Or, you know, in your car.
I spend a lot of time in my car. I’m dining (fine and not-so-fine), banking, visiting clients, shopping – busy lives generate a lot of trash. Since anything I throw out at home has to be brought back into town, my mission is to not bring it home in the first place.
Trash relocation has become something of a game with me.
When I run to Dollar General for supplies, I empty the stray gum wrappers and bank deposit slips from my purse into their trash can.
Fast food for lunch? I trade in that morning’s coffee cup at the window. You’d be surprised how many drive-through employees seem annoyed when I ask them to dispose of my garbage. I figure if McDonald’s wanted me to toss it myself, they’d put those funneling chutes on all their trash cans. Surely they don’t expect me to get out of the car?
A fill-up at the gas station calls for a total car cleanup. I’m down on my hands and knees, under the seats and in the way-back, gathering up old church bulletins and fossilized Junior Mints. Some times I unearth a toy that has been wedged under the seat-belt mechanism for years – who will give me $20 for a vintage Happy Meal Beanie Baby? I also use the gas station squeegee and windshield fluid to clean my windows, but I absolutely draw the line at doing the whole car with the squeegee; the redneck car-wash.
While I like to be clever about trash relocation, I do have my limits. We bring newspapers and magazines to my mother in law’s house for recycling, and aluminum cans go to a co-worker who cashes them in. Plastic bags are reused by the Goodwill, and vegetable waste is tossed into the woods. Whatever we have left is bagged and lugged into town to be deposited in our office dumpster in a sanitary and lawful fashion.
Not everyone shares my scruples.
Another person developed a hole in his car and never noticed that the entire contents of his ashtray had spilled out into the street.
Yet another person felt that nothing would improve the pristine beauty of this country road quite like a queen-size Serta BeautyRest. Although it is true that most of us hillbillies find a rusting washing machine adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the porch decor, we don’t necessarily want to add someone else’s Zenith Solid State Mahogany Console TV to our landscape.
Of course I would never do what these 3 slobs did, and I know you wouldn’t either. You keep taking your trash to the curb and I’ll keep bringing mine to town. And if by chance you look out your front window some dark night, and think you see a woman in camouflage “low-crawling” across your lawn with a couple of Hefty bags…pay no attention.