Friday, January 26, 2007

garbage collectors

One of the questions from the chapter one assignment of "Garbage Land" was what our impressions were of garbage collectors. I always thought they had the worst job imaginable. They have to put in long hours everyday in all kinds of weather picking up other people's heavy, smelly garbage. That impression has just been reinforced with probably more respect. There is a side to their job that would be interesting however. They get to know all kinds of people, even if they never meet them, and learn how they live by what they throw out. I live in a fairly small, clean town so I don't get much exposure to the filth, trash, and pollution to the extent Royte talks about. To which I am very grateful. But if I did I'd either move or do a lot of protesting.


Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. I never thought much about garbage men either but I agree with you that I have more respect for what they do now. I also never realized how dangerous the job can be for them. As the chapter points out, the san men can determine a lot about a person from their garbage. I think that many people in society look down on garbage collectors, but maybe it’s the garbage collectors that are laughing at us.

Michelle Verges, Project Director said...

Your comment made me think of the first time I went to New York City, which was last year to attend a conference. The conference was held near Times Square, and after a day of listening to research presentations, my friends and I went out to dinner. We decided to walk to a nearby restaurant...we were talking, walking, having a great time in NYC. I thought to myself, "yah, what's so bad about New York? This is great!" And just then, as were were crossing the street, I almost stepped on a giant rat! I screamed and leapt in the air. Yah, I'm a tourist. The timing couldn't have been more perfect!

On a serious note, though, it was remarkable to see how much trash was put on the curb each night. I kid you not: I saw over a dozen rats scurry around the nightly trash bags. It was an eye-opening experience for me. Like Lisa, I've been blessed by living in clean neighborhoods for most of my life (thank goodness). But, I also know that living in a clean community doesn't make me exempt from this issue. That's the sobering truth, I suppose.