31 July 2007, 8:25 am

So this morning, as I’m taking out the recycling, there’s a Department of Works guy taking pictures of the unruly mound of trashbags already on our sidewalk, and our house, and (to my instant chagrin) me.

“Trash is s’posed to be in barrels,” he says, none too kindly.

“That’s not my trash,” I reply, with an unfortunate and equal lack of cordiality*. This is truthful, but exactly the wrong thing to say. The right thing comes to me an hour later: “Oh, I’m sorry sir, I didn’t know, I’ll put it in the barrels right away.” But groveling doesn’t come as naturally to me as it once did.

“This is house is getting a ticket,” he announces with grim satisfaction, and gets back in his orange truck.

“Oh, crap,” I think. Because the building I live in has three apartments in it, but my wonderful gf and I have lived there as long or longer than anyone else, and I think our names are on more civic records. The two least pleasant scenarios seem most likely: our landlord gets said ticket and is justly angry, or we get the ticket, which I will probably pay because I have no idea whose trash it actually was. The stain on my Somerville citizenship will rankle much more than the money, but probably less than taking leave to contest the ticket and likely losing anyway.

The irony is that if I’d taken the trash out a few minutes earlier, I would have tried to cram it all in the barrels anyway, because I often have to do that.

Insult to injury dept.: The other party’s recycling wasn’t in a blue recyclables bin, and our blue bin was completely full, so in addition to everything else, three bags of perfectly good recyclables are going to go in a landfill, and that burns me up almost as much as the rest of it.


* In truth, due to various Internet-related inanities with which I will not bore you, I’m already in the sort of mood that, were it a piece of fruit, you might consider using in a smoothie rather than just chucking. But it would be too close to rotten for you to want to sink your teeth into it.

3 comments on “grr.”

  1. 2fs

    We’ve never been hit with any sort of tickets like that (of course, we own our house), but our city’s recycling program is irritating, in that they come around maybe every three weeks. We have two recycle bins, do not take a daily newspaper…and still, the paper side of both bins is crammed full typically well before collection. What this means, of course, is that a lot of people, at that point, will simply toss their recyclables in the trash. I’ve written letters to the city about it - no reply. Ironically, the trash is collected weekly…and typically our trash container is maybe half full. I suppose I should request a third recycle bin from the city - but there’s really no place to park it. As you said, Grr.

  2. Ezra

    If you pay that ticket, Herr Doktor Villain, I will personally be really annoyed with you! The whole point of the city giving tickets is that it’s to wisen up people who don’t know or don’t follow what is a pretty sensible rule for the most densely populated city in New England. (A city, which because of the Somerville Ave construction near you, currently has a rat problem). You should just drop a note about what happened to your landlord and let him know that he needs to pass the word along to his other tenants.

    Also, for the record, 2fs, I’m not sure how owning your own home exempts you from getting a ticket from your city; if anything, it should mean you’re more on the hook (e.g. it’s the owner of Mr. Villain’s unit who is ultimately responsible for his tenants).

  3. 2fs

    Ezra: No exemption - I merely meant that I wouldn’t be liable for garbage my neighbors piled up (unless they piled it up near our garbage bins - which, thankfully, they don’t do).


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